Meet Ema Marinova the founder and curator of London’s 1963 Gallery as she launches her one year anniversary show

We have gatecrashed the Citizen M!  Originally planning on using the Shoreditch based hotel’s mezzanine level as the location for our interview, we have inadvertently stumbled upon an art show in progress.  It’s the perfect backdrop for our meeting, free beer is after all the staple of Shoreditch openings and this one even came with canapes.

But first we need to find a quiet spot, if one exists in this part of the city.  Our chosen location overlooks the Village Underground wall currently adorned with work from Greek artist Ser it’s a decent backdrop from which to talk art.

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Ema Marinova the founder and curator of the 1963 Gallery

Ema Marinova is the founder and curator of the 1963 Gallery.  Formerly housed in a space in Dalston off the Kingsland Road, the gallery is now roving looking for different locations in which to exhibit its impressive roster of artists.  It’s a roster which now includes the likes of Pang, Citizen Kane, Wasp Elder and HIN

The most recent show is entitled ‘Past, Present and Future’.  It’s a nod to the fact that actually the 1963 is at a turning point.  Becoming a roaming gallery is no mean feat when you’ve spent the last year managing your own four walls safe in the knowledge that the bricks and mortar of the building isn’t going anywhere.

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The gallery is celebrating its one year anniversary

The latest show is a celebration of that first year and a celebration of the artists with whom Ema has managed to build a lasting relationship.  The location, in Haggerston, is a grimy but atmospheric industrial space more frequently used as the backdrop for film locations and fashion shoots but now utilised as a makeshift gallery and where a variety of art is cleverly exhibited.

For Ema this is all she does, a former art graduate now her full time passion is the curation of artwork and she also represents a number of artists all of whom are also in the show.  Of these artists, the first amongst equals is the enigmatic Pang an artist who we have featured many times in this blog and an artist whose chameleonesque ability to swap styles is a constant source of admiration.

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Inspired by the sixties Ema has a passion for all things creative

And it was Pang no less who gave that initial push and belief for the then rookie soon to be gallery curator to not only give it a go, but to keep going, and from there, “I don’t know it was just meant to happen” explains Ema.

So why the 1963 Gallery?  It’s an unusual name but one which itself gives a clue to the motivation in terms of how Ema sees the world and by association how she sees her art. The sixties she tells me is the decade from which she draws a lot of her inspiration “I think it was a golden decade of art” she tells me. “It was a lot about liberation, a lot about artists liberating themselves after the second world war. They were experimenting, they felt free to go forward with their vision and I think a lot of great art came out from that period of time”.

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Exciting things in the pipeline for the 1963

And it’s that attitude that Ema takes forward when working with artists in order to put on a show.  That sense of encouraging creativity and experimentation is something with comes out strongly in our conversation.  This creativity in a personal sense is revealing itself in the current fabric of her latest exhibition but more often it’s in the way that she approaches the conversations and interactions with the artists.

After we finish the interview we speak about upcoming plans and there are some exciting things in the pipeline with new artists and of course work featuring the ever evolving Pang.  The future certainly looks exciting for the gallery but for now there is a party happening inside and it’s a party we need to crash.

Ema Marinova was interviewed at the Citizen M hotel in Shoreditch on 9 May 2017.  She is the founder and creator of the roving 1963 Gallery currently celebrating its one year anniversary with a show called ‘Past. Present and Future’.  The location of the show is the Swordtail studios in Haggerston and it can be found at 2083 Acton Mews, E8 4DG.  The show will run until 12 May 2017.

Interview with Ema Marinova 

Past, Present and Future Gallery

Photos from the opening night of the one year anniversary show hosted at Swordtail studios in Haggerston.  All photos courtesy of 1963 Gallery and Tzuen Wu

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All photos from the 1963 Gallery ‘Past, Present and Future’ show at Swordtail studios in Haggerston are courtesy of Tzuen Wu


  1. How strange is this…. Just got back from London tonight having been to see this exhibition and having had a very nice conversation with Ema. A very charming lady indeed… I must warn anyone going to the exhibition that it is well hidden!!! Well worth viewing thou.. Another enjoyable post Stuart.. Some great photos included..

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