Estonian artist Meru Meru has created an incredible set of artistic works. Her paintings are very colourful, thought provoking and intense. She seeks to paint alluring and provocative pictures by using bright imagery and soft brush strokes.
Her communication with art grew stronger while she was studying law and working on various creative projects at the same time. Studying such an academic subject as well as exploring her artistic talent, allowed her to discover contrasts. She learnt how different things complement each other, which helped her to realize her ideas. This is probably reflected in her works.
She often compares herself to the famous Salvador Dali – believing that each dream is can be experienced as if it were real. Many of her paintings are inspired by the subconscious and particularly this collection has a strong correlation with her dream state.
She recalls the night she painted the main piece for the upcoming exhibition at The Islington Company gallery:
“it all started from a strange dream I had. I woke up in the middle of the night and I felt like creating a painting. I didn’t even have an idea what the painting was about. I went back to sleep after I finished it. The next day I couldn’t explain it to myself at all and I wondered why there is a Picasso bird on that girls shoulder. But I thought, they look like they love each other.”
This gave her the title of her exhibition "Love the little bird on your shoulder." After the ideas came to her in her sleep, it was only later she managed to decipher their meaning “I just googled ‘Love the little bird on your shoulder.’ And yes Google helps – I found the meaning of it and it scared me a bit.”
She discovered that according to Zen Buddhism, there is a little bird on each of our shoulders, which reminds us of death. Telling us that death is inevitable, and unpredictable, that each day could be the last day of our life as we know it.
She explains, “the purpose of this imaginary companion, the bird on our shoulders, is to make sure we NEVER lose sight of death.”
The significance of the themes of life and death play a large role in her work. She explores how to truly remain alive until we die and how to value all the little things and to cherish the moments in life. Love the little bird on your shoulder attempts to provide an answer.
By expressing the delight she receives from painting through her vibrant works, she seeks to create beautiful pieces that generate positive thoughts. Her works will be on display at The Islington Company gallery from the 27th of May until the 26th July.
The Islington Company will be hosting a private view on the 14th of June complete with music, waffles and wine. So come and join us for an evening of art, fun and delicious goodies.
While I was strolling along the Camden Passage in Angel, Islington one day, some sparkly things caught my eye in a shop window. Home & Pantry opened in April last year and has been drawing me in ever since. Whenever you walk in you seem to find something new, their stock is ever changing making it perfect to browse for gifts or even to treat yourself.
The focus on good service is evident as soon as you walk through the door, when I came in out of the rain I was met with a warm smile and a cup of tea. Home & Pantry is also particularly handy for men who are having trouble choosing gifts, Jenny and Annabel give very good advice on what a girl might want. The shop offers a range of cute objects at relatively low prices, always aiming to keep things affordable in order to cater for a wider market. Most of the goods are tailored to fit into small spaces and apartments making them ideal for Islington's residents.
The owner Jenny, comes from an entrepreneurial background and has always wanted her own business. She felt Camden Passage was the ideal spot to open up her dream store. Jenny tells me that she has always loved the area, so she couldn’t believe her luck when the space became available.
Looking around the shop the overwhelmingly positive atmosphere struck me. I soon realised that there were little motivating messages hidden behind many of the pretty items. Jenny pointed out that she wants to create a feel good destination and allow people to treat themselves in small ways, especially during the woes of the recession. Here at the Islington Company we have treated ourselves many a times to decorate both our office in Essex Road and our respective homes. Our open/close sign in our window is a cute example of the style and décor offered in Home & Pantry.
For special offers and exclusive discounts you can visit their Facebook page.
If Upper Street is the young and fashionable extrovert of Islington, famous for bars, restaurants, and nightlife, Colebrooke Row, which runs parallel, is the older and more refined relation, known for its history, architecture and altogether more subtle atmosphere.
In the early 1700s, the area around Colebrooke Row was fields and farmland, with a river running through it. It took almost 60 years before the Georgian buildings, which form much of the area’s character today, became the buildings of choice.
These days, Colebrooke Row is one of the most desirable addresses in London.
Walk along the narrow picturesque streets, lined with three-storey houses oozing character, and you will quickly forget you’re in the middle of London. Everything is quieter, people walk just that little bit slower, even the air feels like it has been imported from a country lane.
Eventually you’ll arrive at Duncan Terrace Garden, a pleasant and peaceful public space, built on the route of the former river. There’s a woodland area, with plants and herbaceous borders, with entry points at City Road and Duncan Street. St John the Evangelist Catholic Church, the first church of its type to be built in Islington following Catholic Emancipation, is nearby.
Notable local residents include Boris Johnson. The Mayor of London is a keen cyclist and Colebrooke Row’s position, close to Regent’s Canal, offers cyclists, walkers - and canal boat passengers - great opportunities to explore a greener part of London.
A trip along the canal, whether by bicycle, foot , or on the water, will take you past Camley Street Natural Park in King’s Cross - an oasis of calm in the middle of the city. You’ll come to the kaleidoscope of colour that is Camden Town, before finishing in the beautiful surroundings of Little Venice.
We’re sure you won’t stay there for too long though. Colebrooke Row is the kind of area that once you move to, it’s very hard to leave.
The next time you walk down a London street and suddenly sense a drop in temperature, stop. Is it really the wind you can hear whistling? Are you sure it’s the weather chilling your bones? Or is it something else? Something…haunting?
A 2009 survey found 40% of the British public believe in ghosts. This rises to 50% in London. Why is there a difference? Is the capital more ghostly? If so, which parts?
Let’s start in East London, home of Jack the Ripper. Responsible for at least 11 murders between 1888 and 1891, the brutal serial killer was never caught. Does this mean his ghost or those of his victims still roam the area?
In Spitalfields, close to where Jack the Ripper stalked his victims, was a mass burial site. It was dug in the mid-1300s, to cater for all those who died when the Black Death hit London. The pandemic had already swept through Europe, killing 30-60% of its inhabitants along the way. At its peak, “more than 200 corpses were buried almost day”.
Up in Hackney, Sutton House is the oldest residential property in the borough. Here, “disembodied voices emanate from empty rooms”.
Near Clerkenwell, “the ghost of a red-haired man appears” among drinkers in the Sutton Arms pub. Over in Islington, Charterhouse Square is reportedly another former mass grave; the site of up to 50,000 Black Death victims. At The Islington Company we are hoping that these ghosts won't haunt us while we work. Tales of “ghostly monks and the ghost of a nobleman” who is said to walk around with his head tucked under his arm, have been described. Don't let these stories put you off renting a property in Islington though, you will most likely have to search quite hard for these supernatural beings.
So what does this mean? Are there more ghosts in London? East and North London does seem to have its fair share…
Perhaps we should just remember the words of Richard Jones, ghostwalker, author and expert on the supernatural: “In London, the dead far outweigh the living.”
One of the best things about living in London is the 24/7 culture. Whatever time, day or night, you can usually find something going on. If you are hungry at 3am, pop down to the famous bagel shop on Brick Lane, open 24 hours a day. If you get in the mood for dancing and romancing on a Monday evening, head to the West End. If you want something alternative, head to the gay village in Vauxhall; the bars and clubs are rarely closed!
You might think to live somewhere perfectly positioned between all of the above attractions, you would have to expect some noise. Perhaps a bit of late-night drinking and shouting, or a faint throb of a nearby dancefloor, perhaps intermittent slamming of car-doors at a taxi-office. You probably wouldn’t expect to find somewhere quiet, with a village atmosphere, with local businesses and local restaurants where people greet you by name. It is no wonder that properties here, let by The Islington Company are in such high demand.
If you have been to Clerkenwell, you would.
Nestled in a Central London triangle of Kings Cross, Angel and Farringdon, Clerkenwell is one of those places you don’t expect to find in a city like London. Then you remember the size of a city like London is the perfect place where somewhere like Clerkenwell should have room to exist.
Running through the heart of Clerkenwell is Exmouth Market. This narrow pedestrianised street allows you to…take your time. Take a stroll down and visit of the many independent shops on the route. Then stop at one of the cafes, or bars if you want something stronger. If it’s Friday or Saturday, stock up with fresh produce from the weekly food market.
If you want a pub, visit the Three Kings. This unique, friendly and colourful pub is situated opposite the church, near Clerkenwell Green. Bear in mind Clerkenwell is a popular location among creative industries with thirsty workers, so the pub gets very busy on a Friday night. Visit during the week to really experience its relaxed character.
Did I mention Clerkenwell Green? Charles Dickens wrote about this village square in Oliver Twist, as the location where Fagin and The Artful Dodger teach Oliver all about the art of pickpocketing. There is nothing green here now but around the corner, in between Exmouth Market and Bowling Green Lane is a park where you can relax.
It’s small, it’s friendly, it’s a village in the middle of London – it’s Clerkenwell.
Article written by Steve Alphabet for TIC Blog