Now in its 13th year, the annual Notting Hill Mayfest returns to the streets and venues of the area next month, offering a full line-up of exciting events with something for everyone! What started as a small community festival centred around the popular May Fair is now a month-long, multidisciplinary arts festival – with music recitals, film screenings, children’s events, a tea dance, area tours, lunchtime concerts, talks and much more.

2015 Notting Hill Mayfest

One of the best known events of the Mayfest, as mentioned, is the May Fair which will take place at St John’s Notting Hill on Saturday 9th May, 1pm to 5pm. One of Notting Hill’s best loved events, which has taken place annually for over 25 years, the Fair is well known for its traditional village games and stalls, music, Maypole dancing, a fancy dress competition and dog show. A true family event with something for all ages – including a vintage coconut shy, face painting and even a bouncy castle!

On Wednesday 6th May, Dr William Taylor – Vicar of St John’s Notting Hill – will give a big screen presentation of his recent three-month journey along the Silk Road, during which time he travelled light and stayed with monks and hermits. The evening will include music, dance, food and drink inspired by Silk Road. This will also be the launch event for THE SPACE at St John’s, which will showcase the new community, arts and business facilities within the church. More details on THE SPACE and its use can be found at www.stjohnsnottinghill.com/thespace/.

On Friday 15th May, the silent classic Steamboat Bill Jr (1928), starring Buster Keaton, will be projected onto the big screen at St John’s Notting Hill with music accompaniment by the church’s recently restored organ. This follows a screening of the classic film Wings (1927) last year in what was a sell-out show.

Other highlights of the Mayfest include Love Your Local Market tours of Golborne and Portobello Markets (selected dates); the Bach to Baby classical concert for adults, babies and tots (19th May); the Flores de Mayo/Santacruzan Parade, a traditional festival of the Philippines (30th May); and a Tea Dance that will feature a number of different ballroom dancing styles (23rd May). The Mayfest will also see another opportunity to climb the tower at St John’s Notting Hill (16th May) for panoramic views across the area.

There’s of course plenty more happening during Mayfest as well, and many events are free to enter (or very affordable indeed!). The Notting Hill Mayfest also showcases some of the best known venues in the area, including St John’s Notting Hill, St Peter’s Notting Hill, St George’s Campden Hill, The Gate Theatre, and The 20th Century Theatre, and it’s a lovely chance to experience a variety of cultural events at these locations.

For a full line-up of all the events taking place during Mayfest (and to book tickets, where appropriate), please see www.nottinghillmayfest.org.uk.

2015 Notting Hill Mayfest
1st – 30th May 2015
various venues

The contemporary quartet The Hermes Experiment, winners of the Nonclassical Battle of the Bands 2014 and UK Young Artists 2014, are hosting a Christmas concert at the wonderful St John’s Church in Notting Hill on 16th December 2014.

Titled A Christmas Experiment, the concert will be an alternative take on the traditional carol gathering…but one that doesn’t sacrifice any of the traditional refreshments!

The Hermes Experiment

The dynamic and innovative quartet, made up of harp, soprano, clarinet and double bass, will be joined on the night by Ben Corneau on St John’s wonderful church organ; those of you who have visited the church before will know that the organ recently underwent a complete restoration, and is one of the finest church organs in the whole of London.

The quartet will be performing two exciting new commissions by Graham Ross and Jonathan Woolgar, plus carols arranged by the Hermes Experiment themselves, as well as their take on the classic festive favourite, Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols.

The full programme is as follows:

  • Graham Ross, Away in a Manger (world premiere)
  • Benjamin Britten, A Ceremony of Carols (arr. Millwood)
  • Carols arranged by The Hermes Experiment
  • Jonathan Woolgar, Procession and Chorale for solo organ (world premiere)

Entry is free, and there will be mince pies and mulled wine to accompany the performance.

More details on The Hermes Experience can be found on their website www.thehermesexperiment.com, or on Twitter or Facebook.

A Christmas Experiment
8pm, Tuesday 16th December 2014
St John’s Church
Lansdowne Crescent
W11 2NN

Some of you will remember that at the end of last year the art project Portrait kicked off on the streets of Notting Hill. Following the exhibition Balloons – which featured an ever-changing selection from the artist’s series of balloon paintings (see below for two examples) – IMPREINT began photographing locals and visitors alike holding a single red balloon and sharing the images with those photographed later in the day.

Balloons – 304 of 1000
Balloons – 826 of 1000











The project evolved into the hosting of Portrait Day on 1st March this year, when additional photographs of people – locals, tourist, visitors, workers – holding a balloon on the streets of Notting Hill were taken. On that particular day, however, people from all around the world were also invited to take part, taking photographs of themselves and others and submitting these images to the project online.

Portraits by IMPREINT has also always encouraged anyone and everyone to submit images at any time (images can be submitted online via the artist’s Facebook and via email direct to the artist) – and, to date, over one thousand images have been sent in with tens of thousands of likes and followers of the project online. Amazing!

Now, ten months into the project, its results can be viewed at an exhibition at Arancina on Pembridge Road where 500 images adorn the walls of the first floor. As you enter the room, you’ll be taken aback by the sweeping sea of images that cover almost every inch of wall space, with the common theme of a round object (a balloon, of course!) featured in every single one.

Step a little closer and start inspecting the photographs, and you’ll find out much more – or, perhaps, even start to construct your own story about those that you see. It’s immediately apparent that so many corners of the globe are covered – with people from South America to Asia, Africa to Australasia and many more places besides having taken part. You can easily spend your time trying to find out clues about where the people are from which may sometimes be obvious, given famous landmarks in the background, but other times there’s just a brief hint – a particular item of clothing, the decoration of a room or similar.

Portraits by IMPREINT

It’s even fascinating to see how something as simple as holding a balloon is interpreted by people, and how you can really see different personalities shining through. Whilst some images clearly show that some thought has gone into creating the final photograph, others are a little more candid. Some of the images have been taken by IMPREINT on the streets of London and at galleries in the city where he’s held shows this year – even in these shots, where the people involved had little prior knowledge – you can see how some immediately come up with a fun idea or thought about how to present themselves, whilst others take the task of holding a ballon a little more simply. (I must admit, I’m probably in latter category! See below…)

IMPREINT Portraits
‘The Guide to Notting Hill’ checks out the exhibition!

IMPREINT Portraits

What’s also fascinating is, as IMPREINT himself explains, the project has been fully inclusive and brings together people from a range of backgrounds, religions, culture and even ages – all of whom are now displayed side by side.

The exhibition is open now and will be held until 15th January 2015. I highly recommend that you head down to Arancina to view this delightful and uplifting project whether you have just a few minutes to spare or want to spend time carefully exploring all of the images.

IMPREINT artist talk Portraits

IMPREINT will also be hosting a talk on Portraits the 12th November at the same venue, at which he will also discuss the original Balloons series of works, which started from six paintings created in 2010 and grew to be a collection of exactly one thousand. There will also be a video installation and a debate.

You can find out more about Portraits and IMPREINT – as well as some of his other projects and work – on the website www.impreint.com. More on both Balloons and Portraits can also be found here: Balloons: IMPREINT Exhibition and Artist Talk.

15th October 2014 – 15th January 2015


6pm, 12th November 2014

19 Pembridge Road
W11 3HG

An exciting new art gallery, Lacey Contemporary, is to open in Notting Hill next month on 9th October, with its inaugural exhibition Processed Space showcasing the works of three outstanding young British painters.

Located right in the heart of Clarendon Cross, Lacey Contemporary aims to promote an ethos of nurturing and fostering relationships with its cutting-edge artists. Gallery Director Andrew Lacey says,

“Lacey Contemporary is a contemporary art gallery focused on promoting British based artists to provide a complete business service to allow the artists to focus on their artistic practice. With innovation and technical excellence at the forefront of everything we do Lacey Contemporary aims to change the model for commercial galleries.”

It’s Andrew’s long business experience and an impeccable eye for new artistic talent that really brings together the aims of the gallery. Completing the team at Lacey Contemporary are Tessa Yee, Associate Director and Gallery Manger, and Charlotte Meddings. Tessa has managed contemporary art galleries for the past six years in Melbourne, Australia and in London; she has also curated two international urban art festivals for the city of Melbourne. Charlotte, an independent art curator for the past five years, has worked with a range of international artists and London galleries, as well as producing live art events, running an advisory service and writing and lecturing on art and her curatorial practice.

Lacey Contemporary

The gallery’s opening show Processed Space will exhibit the works of Ross M Brown, Geoff Diego Litherland and Merlin Ramos. Each artist’s works investigate space, whether the cosmos or the physical space that’s occupied in real time or imagined.

Lacey Contemporary - Ross M. Brown
Ross M. Brown ‘Pavillion (interior)’ Oil, oil stick and spray paint on board – 2014

Ross M Brown studied BA Fine Art and MFA Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee; he says “I’m a traditional painter in the terms of working with paint and canvas and at the core of my work is an interest in urban space”.

Lacey Contemporary - Geoff Diego Litherland
Geoff Diego Litherland ‘Space Ship Earth (Window no.11) – Always Returning’ Oil on Canvas 150x150cm

Geoff Diego Litherland is a Mexican-born painter, now based in Nottingham, who graduated in 2002 from Falmouth College of Arts with a BA in Fine Art, and in 2012 from Goldsmiths with an MFA in Fine Art; “My work is painting and a foremost concern is to create a space where my work can sit between figuration and abstraction“.

Lacey Contemporary - Merlin Ramos
Merlin Ramos ‘Is Tropical’ Oil on Linen – 2014

Merlin Ramos received a BA in Fine Art at Falmouth College of Arts in 2007, and an MA at Prince’s Drawing School where he became the artist in residence; “My work represents a collection of moments, everyday minutiae that make up the contents of the day – but become important enough to remember“.

Future exhibitions at Lacey Contemporary include Bacon, Fenn and Moran: A dedication to form (5th – 16th November); Winter Pride UK Arts Awards (18th – 29th November) and Launch Part 2 (3rd – 23rd December). Find out more on all of Lacey Contemporary’s exhibitions at www.laceycontemporarygallery.co.uk.

Processed Space
9th October – 2nd November 2014
Lacey Contemporary
8 Clarendon Cross
W11 4AP