Three major art patrons and a fine art photographer are transforming London’s shopfronts into a pop-up gallery for charity during lockdown
Three of the most influential people on the London art scene, Maryam Eisler (our chief contributing editor), Shirley Elghanian and Maria Sukkar, have transformed some of the city’s shopfronts in the swanky Chelsea area into an art gallery from 13 November to 13 December 2020, with the collaboration of award-winning American art photographer and storyteller David Taggart. Those passing through the otherwise forlorn streets can purchase prints of any of the 50 striking photographs, for £100 each, with 100% of the proceeds donated to CW+, the official charity of the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Together, they named their venture Republic of YOUmanity.
Below, LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai gives a short introduction to the new show, after which we present the featured photographs in our gallery, along with a chance to advance purchase any of the beautiful images via a link to the new website set up for the project. We also present some pictures of the shopfronts themselves along with a letter the Republic of YOUmanity team. Make your lockdown count and become a citizen of the Republic of YOUmanity by purchasing one of David’s stunning images in aid of the Chelsea and Westminster hospital.
From left to right: Shirley Elghanian, Maria Sukkar, Maryam Eisler & David Taggart (beamed in from Dallas) outside the Chelsea & Westminster hospital
“It was a hauntingly sunny March day, around 24 hours into the original lockdown in London. I had gone for a walk in Kensington Gardens to work out what would happen next (still working on that one – if anyone has any ideas, let me know). My phone rang. It was Maryam Eisler, creator, author, photographer and our chief contributing editor. “I have a little idea,” she said. “I am going to chronicle artists during lockdown!”
Maryam’s little idea turned into the Confined Artists – Free Spirits show which we previewed on July 1, three months after she photographed and interviewed the first of 165 artists for the historic project on FaceTime.
The government declared its next lockdown on November 5. 24 hours later I was rounding the same spot in Kensington Gardens, making our plans for 2021, when Maryam called again. “We have had an idea!” She explained how she, Shirley (Elghanian) and Maria (Sukkar) had been running at Ferrari speed in the days since the lockdown date was announced, to get this remarkable project underway, with the collaboration of David Taggart, remotely, from Dallas, the retailers in Chelsea, and the hospital charity.
I am humbled to be able to showcase the exhibition by such an esteemed team in this, only our second show in our online gallery. It speaks something that is very close to my heart in these traumatising times: creativity and giving; and how the two should be more closely entwined than ever. Please enjoy, and please buy one of David’s stunning images.”
Darius Sanai, Editor-in-Chief, LUX
A charity project created by Maryam Eisler, Shirley Elghanian and Maria Sukkar in collaboration with award-winning American photographer David Taggart and hosted by LUX
50 photographs including those on this page are available to buy as one-off signed prints for £100 each, with 100% of proceeds donated to CW+, the official charity of the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Advance purchase via: https://www.republicofyoumanity.com/shop
Stories from Behind the Camera by David Taggart
Taggart on the road in Wadi Rum, Jordan (top), and Lake Titicaca, Peru
The initiative’s aim is to bring our community together, in a time of isolation and disconnectedness, in aid of CW+, the official charity of the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and their COVID-19 efforts. Where politics fails, art, dialogue and storytelling win. Now it’s time to turn the camera lens away from the I to the YOU and WE.
Retail doors will remain closed during this period yet select shop windows will open community hearts and minds to a more compassionate, inclusive and empathetic worldview. In the words of David Taggart:
“Humanity is the name for our species, and also an attribute. My hope is for people to look at themselves through others, thereby opening hearts and minds. Nationality, race or religion does not limit our common humanity. Seeing ourselves, and others, without labels, is a way to transform the world.”
We would like to thank the independent retailers in the Chelsea and Kensington communities (see below) who have lent their space, voice, social platforms and hearts to this project.
We wish you all a peaceful and safe rest of 2020.
Join the movement and become a citizen of Republic of YOUmanity!
The Republic of YOUmanity team:
A curated selection of David Taggart’s photographs
Taken in India, Guatemala, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Mexico, Peru, Morocco, Cuba, Colombia, Haiti & Chile
To view and purchase any of 50 available images please visit: https://www.republicofyoumanity.com/shop
Some of the retailers taking part in the initiative
Only Breath – a short film by David Taggart
The Republic of YOUmanity team would like to thank the following:
Darius Sanai, Millie Walton & the LUX team, Natalie Kabiri, Kate Gordon, Sussan Booth, Roger Fawcett Tang and Struktur Design, Laura Beaney, and the team at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital including Chris Cheyney, Kerry Huntington, Tejinder Padam, Raine Marcus and Heledd Joyner. The team would also like to thank the YOUmanity charitable organisation for their generous support.
Thanks also to all the independent retailers and partners who have joined forces with us, including:
Aubaine, Catherine Prevost, Daphne’s, Derek Rose, Ella Boutique, Here Organic Foods, La Pizzeria at the Chelsea Farmers Market, Laurence Coste, Linley, Love My Human, Sukie’s, Maroush, Melissa Odabash, Piazza Castello Cashmere, Russell Simpson, Salt Boutique, Savills, Sirplus, Sushi Cupcake at the Chelsea Farmers Market, The Cheery Moon, The Peruvian Connection, WM Hawkes and Son, Zefi
LUX does not take any responsibility for content or offers on third-party websites. Republic of YOUmanity content and offers are managed by Republic of YOUmanity, all queries should be directed appropriately to www.republicofyoumanity.com