Interview with Sabina Andron as she curates her first group show at the Curious Duke Gallery

It seems right that we should be meeting in Leake Street! The famous legal graffiti spot underneath the arches of Waterloo Station and sometimes known as the ‘Banksy Tunnel’ has long been of interest to my latest interviewee.

Sabina Andron is a PHD researcher at the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London and has long explored the impact of street art and graffiti in the public spaces they inhabit. Her project ‘100 days of Leake Street‘ explored the changing canvas of the tunnel by photographing the series of spaces over the period of 100 days to see how it evolved and changed. It’s an intriguing piece of work which has since received attention from around the World.

Sabina Andron operates the 'I Know What I Like' Arts facilitation group
Sabina Andron operates the ‘I Know What I Like’ Arts facilitation group

But it’s through her work as the organiser of meet up group ‘I Know What I Like’ that Sabina’s passion for the arts has really come to the fore. Visiting art galleries and shows around London, the group is free for like minded people to get together and discuss the visual arts. Now the group itself will be putting on a show. For one week only at the Curious Duke Gallery, a number of contributors, all of whom are part of ‘I Know What I Like‘ will be exhibiting themselves.

Speaking about her inspiration for the show Sabina explained “I really wanted to do something because I met a lot of artists as part of the group so I thought I should do something to celebrate that.” The group itself having spent so much time reflecting on the work of others it seemed to make sense that to eventually celebrate the talent that could be found in the group itself.

Sabina photographed inside the Leake Street Tunnel
Sabina photographed inside the Leake Street Tunnel

Evolving through various incarnations, ‘I Know What I Like‘ started life as an art based book club, evolving into a debate society meeting once a month on a Sunday which introduced art and artists to other members of the group. Since then it has evolved further with more and more visits to galleries something which Sabina describes as “arts facilitation” due to it’s ability to “facilitate people’s access and understanding of art”.

Combining her research with her activities organising the group for Sabina it’s about exposing people to art in it’s environment whether that be on the street or in the gallery and helping people to understand the art within the context it has been shown. “I think there’s a lot of power in conversation and dialogue and just saying simple things about what you see… I think there’s a lot of learning, or educational value in that, maybe more than even reading art history books for example.”

Sabina in the Leake Street Tunnel
Sabina in the Leake Street Tunnel

But putting on a show is proving to be an altogether different proposition especially when that show will feature 15 different artists and which also marks a curation debut. Issues such as hanging, space and the amount that the work is to be sold for are all areas which need to be ironed out prior to opening day with the pricing being one of the most challenging areas to get right. “I have the responsibility for getting a balance between the prices” explains Sabina. “That doesn’t mean that I am comparing artists… but you can’t be ignorant in terms of size, medium and point of career.”

Providing a deeper insight into some of the complexities of curation Sabina explains, “The price of something is a result of a lot of factors. Institutions, interests, history, everything makes up the value of that work and what that work is. Reputation, career, visibility, online visibility, you can’t just establish a price from your own mind.” Often proving to be the most delicate area of discussion prior to putting on a show, nonetheless Sabina now believes that “all the prices are fair and reflect the point of each artists career some of them have been showing and selling work and others haven’t and it also reflects the location of the show and the sort of public the Curious Duke Gallery attracts.”

The group show will take place at the Curious Duke Gallery
The group show will take place at the Curious Duke Gallery

Speaking to Sabina there is no doubt that art is a real passion and with more projects in the pipeline, the show featuring artists from her arts facilitation group promises to be just the tip of the iceberg.  For Sabina it is part of her commitment to “facilitate top quality artistic encounters and provide a lively networking environment for young artists I know and believe in.”

Those taking part include the recent winner of the Curious Duke Galleries ‘Secret Art Prize’ Mohammed Sami recently acknowledged by Saatchi as an artist to watch and features a range of other artistic talent. In total 15 artists will be exhibiting, all of whom have been selected from an open submission process hosted by the ‘I Know What I Like’ group. As Sabina explains in the show brochure “they are bright talented people whose work stood out in the selection process through its visual appeal and unrepeatable nature.”

Considering the quality and variety of art that will be on display it’s a project and a show which deserves attention. From arts facilitation to arts curation, for Andron this may be just the start of some exciting things to come.

Sabina Andron was interviewed in the Leake Street Tunnel on 9 September 2014. She runs the arts facilitation group ‘I Know What I Like‘ and will be curating her first group show at the Curious Duke Gallery between 3 October 2014 and 9 October 2014. You can also read about another project from Sabina ‘Studio 189′ here.


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