This Week on Oxford Road: OpenHand OpenSpace art centre

‘RIGHT’, I said, picking McSnottyBaby up from his fourth banged head, ‘that’s it. We’re walking to Tesco’.

This is because, if you hadn’t noticed from the frequency of Tesco references on this blog, going to the supermarket is the cure for all our ills. It gets us out of the house. Henry gets to sit in a fold-out baby seat and joyfully suck the metal handle in front of him, thus topping up his immune system with stranger germs. And they sell a lot of food.

It’s also only half a mile away, which makes it an easy walk on days in which Daddy is away climbing a mountain, Henry is finishing up his cold by wiping his nose on all our soft furnishings, and the air is so warm and wet it’s like someone you don’t like very much is hanging on your shoulder and licking your cheek.

I manhandled the pushchair downstairs, assembled it, came back for McSnottyBaby, strapped him in, went back up for my handbag then back up again for the rain cover, wished we didn’t have so many stairs, and then set off. Henry gave in to the clicking of the wheels and fell asleep. We bought the few cake ingredients I’d decided we needed and then, on the way home, passed this:

Hellooooo. Art, on Oxford Road? The sign pointed into a little round cobbled courtyard overhung with ivy, behind the imposing red Territorial Army building. The sort of place you might find anything – a fortune teller, a doorway to a secret garden, a genie in the sand. Or an art gallery you never knew was there.

It was ten to five. I went in.

Gill Goodwin, ‘Exposed’

Sadie Brockbank, ‘Prickly Bear’.

Helen Lunn, ‘Exploration’.

Sadie Brockbank, ‘Dog Dream’.

The space is a funny little collection of whitewashed rooms: down corridors, up little ramps, and behind heavy, iron-bolted doors. I’m no judge of art, but I rather liked it. The artists manning the exhibition (a local group called ‘arjeea21‘) were delighted to see us and gave us the information sheet to walk around with. I particularly liked Sadie Brockbank’s mixed media sculptures (you can see more on her website, here).

Then I came out, wiped Henry’s nose, and walked the rest of the way home.

OpenHand OpenSpace art centre, The Keep, 571 Oxford Road. The arjeea21 exhibition runs until 15 July.

If it wasn’t a dream, that is. 

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