This Is Where I Live: homeless art from New York, Berlin, Mumbai and London

Posted by on Mar 31, 2017 in Featured, News | 2 comments

Paintings from twelve artists from New York, Berlin and Mumbai join four from London at Diorama Arts Centre as part of Cafe Art's international art exhibition exchange This Is Where I Live from Friday 7 April until mid May. The exhibition is being held in all four cities, with paintings from each city being exhibited in each city. This Is Where I Live started in 2013, and has grown from the original exchange with fresh art in New York, which resulted in memorable videos from New York to London connecting them with the London artists who replied with their own video to New York. fresh art creates artistic and personal development opportunities for disadvantaged and underserved adults in New York City through fine art exhibitions and workshops. The organization raises public awareness and recognition of these artists' work and talents by building partnerships with social service agencies, residences and community groups. fresh art is dedicated to promoting art as a tool for personal expression, creative growth and positive transformation.
Berlin's Gitschiner 15 joined the project in November 2015. It is the first year for Pehchan in Mumbai. Art despite poverty is the motto for Gitschiner 15. They provide cultural and health services for the lowincome and homeless in Berlin, and have a thriving art group. It is the first year for Pehchan in Mumbai. Pehchan is a community-based NGO that helps homeless citizens in Mumbai build a life of dignity and fulfillment. The word ‘pehchan’ in Hindi translates as “identity”. Each organisation has sent four paintings to the other three and exhibitions are being held in all four cities in April and May. The idea behind it is to have fun, make connections and have paintings exhibited in major cities. The issue of homelessness is international and by talking about it Cafe Art hopes to draw attention to the issue in a creative way. Like the other projects run by Cafe Art, from the first art calendar, called ONE, which united artists from different homelessness charity art groups in London, to the annual MyLondon photography project, the goals are to empower people through creativity.

This is the fourth THIS IS WHERE I LIVE. The other exhibitions are being held almost at the same time.

London: Diorama Arts Centre, Regent's Place, 201 Drummond St, London NW1 3FE Fri 7th April - Sun 14th May 2017 (closest tube stations Warren Street and Euston) Berlin: Social- and Cultural Center/Alcohol-free Café, Gitschiner 15, Gitschiner Straße 15, 10969 Berlin Wed 12th Apr - Wed 31st May 2017 New York: St Margaret’s House, 49 Fulton Street, New York, NY 10038, USA Mon 3rd Apr - Wed 31st May 2017 Mumbai: Various Colleges and Universities in Mumbai, India Mon 3rd April - Sun 30th April 2017 MEET THE LONDON ARTISTS Please come to Diorama Arts Centre on Thursday 11 May 2017 from 5.30pm - 7.30pm and meet the London artists. We are holding a workshop day at Diorama earlier in the day and we have asked everyone who wants to stay to do so and meet the public.

From Brazil with love – a Favela connection with London

Posted by on Mar 16, 2017 in News | Comments Off on From Brazil with love – a Favela connection with London

Brazilian artist, Ricardo Alves da Silva Miranda, also known by his artist name Ricardo Negro, creates colourful graffiti-style murals and paintings that focus on the architecture of the Favela communities of Brazil. Last night he painted a mural for Café Art in our Qbic Hotel base in East London.

Ricardo, who is here to help Brazilian flip flop company Havaianas launch a summer 2017 range based on his paintings, wanted to connect with the London by doing a mural on a wall here and we were really happy when the Qbic Hotel gave him one of their main walls in the hotel. The Qbic Hotel has given Café Art free storage of our paintings and photographs since November 2014.</>

Julie Fawcett, managing director of Qbic Hotels London says that while Qbic was always set up to be a business that made money, looked after people, do things that normal hotels do, it also had a strong emphasis on ethical behaviour and doing good business. “Part of that is supporting the community and [their] projects surrounding us. So we were absolutely delighted to support this. We have been a long time supporter of Café Art and that relationship has been I think beneficial for both of us. It’s a really great example of how an organisation like us and an organisation like Café Art can come together for mutual benefit. And today we had this amazing work of art drawn on our wall, organised by Café Art, which has been a huge symbol I think of how the two organisations can work together for such a great outcome.”

Ricardo has been doing graffiti art for 16 years. He says his paintings, which focus on images in the marginalised communities in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, focus on joy, purity and intimacy. He was flown to London by Havaianas with the art gallery owner Roberta Britto who exhibited his work and helped him contact Havaianas with his ideas and designs for the flip fops in 2015.

Roberta explained that Ricardo approached Havaianas with the idea for using his designs on their flip flops. Havaianas decided to open it to other designers and Ricardo submitted 30 designs, and they chose three of his designs.

Havaianas Europe decided to fly Ricardo to launch his three designs in London, Porto, Portugal and Dublin.

With only a few days in London Café Art was very happy to show Ricardo a small part of the East End the other day, after buying the dozen spray cans for the Qbic Hotel mural which was completed in about five hours late on a Wednesday evening. Ricardo will be painting live at Havaianas in Westfield London and the painting will be exhibited by Cafe Art along with another one being created in Porto by him.

We hope to host an exhibition by Ricardo in the Qbic Hotel soon, including several other paintings he did in Brazil and brought with him, with profits going to Café Art. Keep an eye on our website for more information!


MyLondon photographer in new London exhibition

Posted by on Mar 16, 2017 in News | Comments Off on MyLondon photographer in new London exhibition

Hugh Gary had already started his photography training at West London University when he entered the MyLondon Photography Contest in 2016 securing second place in the pubic vote and a place in the 2017 MyLondon calendar.

Later this month he will be in a group exhibition entitled Unfairground.

The group, called West Twelve, has "innovative installations exploring fairness and the unfair."

Described as a "multi-sensory exhibition" in Weston Hall, St Mary’s Road Campus, University of West London, Ealing on Thursday 23rd March 5.30 - 8.30pm.

Exhibition curator Kirsty Meredith says “you can expect a rollercoaster ride!” Ominously, the press release has a warning: "Height restrictions may apply to some attractions."

Hugh Gary is an ex-British Army serviceman and was helped into housing by the West London Mission’s Big House, a homeless hostel for ex-servicemen.

“I went overseas to a few places: all over the Middle East, Australia, Canada.” In the army for 10 years, he left in 2013. “A lot of the homeless people in London are ex-service.” Hugh lives in a self-contained flat after progressing on from the Big House hostel seven months ago. “And then it’s into the big world after that. The flat is only temporary – it’s still part of the Big House. It’s so residents can get used to paying bills.”

Hi-Yo, Silver! Away!

Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 in News | Comments Off on Hi-Yo, Silver! Away!

A very happy Maria with an even happier John .....!

He may not draw a gun as fast as the Lone Ranger, but John Sheehy can easily beat the Ranger hands down if it's with a paint brush.
John is a much-loved artist from 240 Project whom we connected with in the early days of Cafe Art. We have managed to display his art in a number of cafes, including a one-man show exhibition, which have seen a few of his pieces being bought by caffeine-art lovers. This time, the owner of Maria's Cafe - who else, but Maria herself, can't help, but buy one. She fell in love with this particular painting for a long time, and we're pleased to say that it is now hanging proudly in her house, instead of her Cafe wall.
As usual, we ensured that both John and Maria had a chance to meet over a cup of coffee and to enjoy a chat with each other. What better way to buy art!
We have new art on display at Maria's Cafe, so please do go down to view them and support the Cafe. Many thanks again to Maria and her Team, and most of all, John ......!

Retrospective exhibition opens

Posted by on Jan 27, 2017 in News | Comments Off on Retrospective exhibition opens

The largest exhibition of Cafe Art's MyLondon photographs, from 2013-2016, opened in King's College London (KCL) last night when a group of photographers from the project were hosted by students from the Dickson Poon School of Law. The exhibition is in the lower ground level of Somerset House, London. The selection is from four years of the contest where around 100 one-time-use cameras are given to people affected by homelessness for five days in July. The theme is "my London" and results in more than 2,500 images being printed in black and white and colour, then narrowed down to 20 for the exhibition and then after a public vote, 13 for each calendar. The 30 photos in this exhibition are from the 52 images that made it into the calendars, alongside the captions written and edited by the photographers.

A creative take on the photographs

Five photos from the exhibition are interpreted by students from the Dickson Poon School of Law in this exhibition. Anyone can see the exhibition by appointment, but please contact us at Cafe Art to arrange a time.      

From Bethnal Green with Love

Posted by on Jan 2, 2017 in News | Comments Off on From Bethnal Green with Love

Erica Porter meeting ROL - the photographer behind the winning cover shot for the 2016 calendar.

Despite replacing the bar-tender with a barista, and a martini (shaken and not stirred, of course!) with a latte, Mr Bond can still catch the attention of the ladies. This time it's Erica Porter - the big-hearted lady who decided to purchase a framed photo of Mr Bond (cover of the MyLondon 2016 calendar) which has been on display at Second Shot Cafe in Bethnal Green. She decided to purchase it as a surprise gift for her boyfriend, Gerry, who regularly pops into the cafe for his caffeine fix. As with many of our sales, the human connection is what matters most. It gives a great sense of value and pride to be able to meet with the buyer (and vice versa), and to share each others stories. Hence, we were really pleased that both Erica and ROL managed to meet up over a hot drink, and both left feeling over the moon. Thank you, Erica and Gerry!

The meeting of heARTS @ Ezo Bistro

Posted by on Nov 5, 2016 in News | Comments Off on The meeting of heARTS @ Ezo Bistro

Philip, Farrah, James and Ina (L-R) with James's wonderful painting in the middle.

Philip, Farah, James and Ina (L-R) with James's wonderful painting (Three Trees) in the middle.

Painted by one heart, bought by another ..... When Farrah popped into her local cafe at Barking station - Ezo Bistro - she can't help but fell in love with one of the paintings on display. After coming back to view it a few more times while enjoying her cup of latte, she decided to take the plunge and emailed us. The painting in question was by James Gray - a very popular & talented artist loved by many of Cafe Art supporters.
As many of you are aware, we are passionate for both artist and buyer to meet up when a sale occurs. This not only makes the transaction more meaningful, but it enables a share of stories and a human connection between two strangers whose life paths would never have met, if not for the share of one common theme - the love of art and of the human spirit. We're pleased to say that Farrah was one up on us as she already wanted to meet the artist before we even suggested this option to her.
Hence, we arranged for James to meet up with Farrah and her husband, Phil, as well as Ina, the owner of Ezo Bistro over a cup of coffee with snacks/lunch thrown in by all of them. Many thanks for that!
The meeting of heARTS, mind and soul at Ezo Bistro. Thank you, Farah and Phil for your big-heartedness ...

The meeting of heARTS, mind and soul at Ezo Bistro. Thank you, Farah and Phil for your big-heartedness ...

 Here's what Farrah had to say about her experience of meeting James, and we hope many other art lovers follow her example. Thank you, Farrah and Phil (and Ina, of course) !!!
Friday the 28th October is the day I got to meet James - the wonderful artist behind 'Three Trees' the painting. I have been coming to Ezo Bistro for a number of years now where James's painting hung. I have also admired the painting and enjoyed looking at it every time I sat with my coffee. I also knew I wanted to purchase it - so when the opportunity arose and I emailed the Cafe Art team I was thrilled to learn I could meet the artist too. It was a huge privilege to meet with James (and Cafe Art). The meeting felt more than just  a purchase. To meet with James and discuss his art, inspiration and life made the whole experience even more special. I thank all at Cafe Art for this wonderful  opportunity and I will enjoy my painting for many years to come. Farrah

Chris Cheesman, Journalist

Posted by on Oct 20, 2016 in News | Comments Off on Chris Cheesman, Journalist


Chris Cheesman (right) helped Cafe Art by volunteering for the judging panel in 2015 and 2016. His articles as News Editor for Amateur Photographer magazine were widely read and helped the project gain international recognition.

One of Cafe Art's biggest supporters in the past two years has passed away suddenly in London.

Chris Cheesman was the news editor for Amateur Photographer magazine and helped judge the MyLondon Photography Contest in 2015 and 2016

. We are a very small social enterprise and we could not succeed without the support of people like Chris. When we approached him, after an introduction by The Royal Photographic Society in early 2015, we were hopeful of getting him on our judging panel, and we were overjoyed when he accepted.

It was Chris's article in Amateur Photographer in August 2015 that propelled us, and our Kickstarter, into the stratosphere. We had not thought of approaching the media until the actual October launch of the calendar, but Chris said we should not only put out the photos, but also the stories from the photographers in August.

The rest is history: we went viral in the US after Chris's article was published - within hours. It was slow at first - the US photography websites and magazines emailing us after seeing Chris's article (PetaPixel was the first). Soon it snowballed, with Buzzfeed, Bored Panda and even the Today Show in New York asking for our photos and story. Then in Europe we were covered by news organisations in Germany, Spain and Italy, and finally back in the UK the media found us. Chris kept promoting the project, and presented the winning photographer (judges' choice) at the exhibition opening last year. This year he wrote another great article about the project again in August.

We last heard from Chris a few weeks ago when he emailed to say he was in hospital and that he was sorry to miss the launch of the calendar, which happened last week.

We did not know Chris well, but from the short time we knew him he made a lasting impression on us. He willingly gave his time, despite being an obviously very busy man. Rest in peace Chris, we will miss you.

Joining the dots …

Posted by on Oct 16, 2016 in News | 2 comments


Dotdot (with Saffron) helping to join the dots with happy calendar buyers at our Spitalfields stall this week.

That's what we try to do here at Cafe Art. Connecting the positivity of homelessness with the wider community through their art. Through their talent. And through their own narratives.
One person that has definitely helped us join the dots has been Dotdot herself. Seen across social media around the world, Dotdot is the proud companion of Saffron Saidi (from Cooltan Arts). Saffron's winning shot of her beautiful Dalmatian got her into the front cover of our MyLondon 2017 calendar, and was voted the People's Top Choice, as well as the Judges' Second Choice. How amazing is that!
Saffron and Dotdot were with us at our Arts Market at Spitalfields this week connecting the dots with the many calendar buyers and art lovers. Thank you so much to all of you for coming to celebrate their talent, chatting with all the artists & photographers and buying the calendars.
If you missed us, you can still buy the calendar online here, or at Spitalfields Market E1 (either in front of Leon and Canteen) at our dedicated Cafe Art MyLondon calendar stall every Thurs - Sun from next week onwards until Xmas.
Last, but not least, a  very BIG thank you to Ray Dervin and the Spitalfields Estate Management Team for their continued support of the Cafe Art Arts Market. We really couldn't have given the participants a chance to connect, gain work experience and confidence in such a unique environment without their believe and support .....
Saffron, Dotdot with another calendar buyer. Thank you to everyone who came to the stall to support the photographers!

Saffron & Dotdot with another calendar buyer. Thank you to everyone who came to the stall to support the photographers!

David Tovey kindly donated a hand-drawn London landscape for our Arts Market again this year.

David Tovey kindly donated a hand-drawn London landscape for our Arts Market again this year.


Young kids joining in the art frenzy at the ONE Festival canvas.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by to share their talent at our annual Arts Market.

Thank you to everyone (both young & old) who stopped by to share their talent on our 'ONE' Festival canvas.

A gift of thanks to Ray and the Spitalfields Estate Management Team for the amazing week we had at the Arts Market, on behalf of Cafe Art and all the artists/photographers, from Saffron Saadi.

A gift of thanks to Ray and the Spitalfields Estate Management Team for the amazing week we had at the Arts Market, on behalf of Cafe Art and all the artists/photographers, from Saffron Saadi.

Ray Dervin (Manager, Traders & Arts Market) with Saffron Saadi and her winning cover shot of the MyLondon 2017 calendar.

Ray Dervin (Manager, Traders & Arts Market) with Saffron Saadi and her winning cover shot of the MyLondon 2017 calendar.

And the Outstanding Individual Learner Award goes to ….

Posted by on Oct 7, 2016 in News | Comments Off on And the Outstanding Individual Learner Award goes to ….

Geraldine presented with some flowers from Cafe Art for her amazing achievement!

Geraldine presented with some flowers from Cafe Art for her amazing achievement!

.... Geraldine Crimmins! The Festival of Learning is a national celebration of lifelong learning. Special awards are handed out each year to highlight the vast array of people who gain so much from learning as adults. Their stories truly inspire all of us and help us recognise that learning is transformational, exciting, rewarding and possible at any age, for any reason and can be for all of us. The Outstanding Individual Learner Award celebrates remarkable individuals who, through learning, have transformed their own lives and the lives of their families, friends, their communities, and the places they work. You can read about Geraldine's story here. She has had her work exhibited with us, the most recent being at King's College, London. She is an active member of our Arts Market, as well as helping with the MyLondon calendars. In fact, she has a winning shot (August) in the new MyLondon 2017 calendar. We here at Cafe Art are truly proud of you, Geraldine! Well done again .....
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