To the Manor Born was a solo exhibition from London based artist Alexander Chappell. Featuring a range of portraits it was a one day only event at a pop up gallery space in Shoreditch. Chappell is an artist known for his incredibly detailed and emotive pencil artworks.
The title takes its name from Manor Park in Newham. This is where Alexander Chappell grew up and many of the portraits are of people he knows from his life here. Having moved away he returned in the wake of the EU referendum. It was a time when Britain was becoming increasingly divided. “It can be tough in Newham, it’s one of London’s most deprived boroughs. I didn’t notice it as a kid, kids don’t do they? But I felt it on my return”.
Chappell says that his current work is steered by the tribal instincts that are rooted in human psychology. Indeed in each piece we get to know the sitter or at least we can sense a little of their story. He wants us to see the world through their eyes and for Alexander Chappell this is a world he knows intimately. “Back in Manor Park I saw creativity, pride, love, family, community and most of all, it still felt like home.
In many ways this is a series of portraits which seek to give a voice to those whose communities are not often heard. They are he says “a response to the exclusion of Newham’s voices from the national conversation”. He hopes that by showcasing the portraits in this way that they reveal there is more than unites us than which divides us. “If viewers can find something of themselves in the friends I’ve depicted, no matter their background, then maybe we can all get a bit closer to realising we’re not so different after all”.
To the Manor Born was a one day exhibition by Alexander Chappell at 33 Boundary Road in Shoreditch. It took place on 6 October 2021 and featured a series of pencil portraits of people from the Manor Park area of Newham. You can find out more about the work of Alexander Chappell by looking at his website and instagram.
To the Manor Born Gallery
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