The Electric Elephant Café opened in Pullen’s Yards in 2008 and almost immediately exhibited art from the artists in the historic yards for about four years. That stopped for various reasons but now the café has transitioned from the chaos of Covid with art at the forefront once again, writes Michael Holland…
When the virus struck and the first lockdown hit it was impossible for proprietor Louisa and her team to continue providing the wholesome, cooked-from-scratch vegetarian dishes, so she began selling fruit and veg along with her excellent coffee for takeaway customers.
But lockdown gave Louisa time to think about the future of the Electric Elephant, and the happy memories of art exhibitions in the café came flooding back.
Hence, the first floor is now studio space and some of the ground floor area will be given over to the work of local artists, with the first exhibition already planned.
Irene Giannettino first specialised in sculpture at high school in Palermo, and subsequently graduated in Graphic Design at the Academy of Fine Art.
‘Since childhood,’ she says, ‘I have always been curious and looked to more creative ways of expression, so pursuing a career as an artist was my natural path. My early studies in Palermo focused on sculpture, drawing, graphic design and photography, and I developed further through attending creative thinking and filmmaking courses between London and Dublin. However, it was my work with the ‘Wildfire Gallery’ project in 2019, which proved a definitive moment for me. Wildfire Gallery was a travelling pop-up art gallery, it only lasted a year, but being one of the main artists focussed my energy and gave me a chance to develop artistically, along with the experience of curating and art handling. I spent the whole of 2019 exploring my artistic processes, experimenting and pushing my artistic boundaries as never before.
‘I look at my art as a form of self-enquiry. I interrogate life and my own experiences with my curious mind. I contemplate my surroundings with introspection, to observe life in a search for meaning within myself and the world around me. Every artwork represents a personal moment of self-reflection.
‘Although I mostly paint with acrylics, I also cherish every technique learned in the past, and I like to work with different mediums and to create out of any kind of materials.’
Art In My Mind’ is Irene’s first solo exhibition and is a comprehensive collection of work created over 2019 as well as work created during the 2020 pandemic. A mixture of techniques and colourful emotions that will drag you into the world of her mind…
The Electric Elephant Café, 186A Crampton Street, Walworth, SE17 3AE
Dates: 21st May – 16th June. Times: 9am – 6pm. Admission: Free.