Brixton Village unveils empowering exhibition for International Woman’s Day – ‘A Fish Without A Bicycle’ 

Brixton Village presents, ‘A Fish Without A Bicycle’ – a new exhibition in celebration of International Women’s Day, curated by artist in residence Layla Andrews, which opened on Wednesday 9 March.

Known for her large-scale, figurative and abstract portraits, the contemporary artist took up residency in Brixton Village in 2021, first exhibiting in the village during the pandemic and transforming the courtyard into an outdoor gallery for culturists waiting for the reopening of museums and art spaces. Layla’s paintings are collected globally and have caught the attention of many, including President Obama who praised Layla’s work and encouraged her to further her career in the arts.

Humorously responding to the slogan ‘a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle’, the exhibition will see Layla bring together 20 original works ranging from sculpture, collage, photography, drawings and paintings by seven talented female artists including contemporary artist Jo Kitchen; photographer Louisa Tratalos; painter Gayle Ebose; mixed-media artists Imogen Allen and Charlotte Mei; illustrator Melissa Kitty Jarram; and visual artist Sheila Maurice-Grey.

Paying homage to the power of female friendships, the exhibition will also see Layla unveil a series of large-scale sea-life sculptures set against the backdrop of Brixton Village’s iconic Market Row. Floating through the markets’ Coldharbour Lane entrance, each sculpture has been named after key female family members whom the artist credits to being imperative to her success. A representation of the love and support that has provided the artist with the confidence to take on the boundaries of the art world, the new series will mark Layla’s largest exposition of sculptures to date, and will see the artists’ main painting practice and love for the sea translate into a new sculptural body of work. On a mission to be as sustainable as she can be in her practice, Layla’s sculptures have been created with collected rubbish from the shops and restaurants across Brixton Village.

Passionate about reaching better inclusivity across the arts world, Layla has often spoken against the conventional norms that dictate the creative industry. Through ‘A Fish Without a Bicycle’ the artist looks to open a discussion on the number of empty spaces around London that could be utilised by artists to showcase and create, bringing their art to life at the heart of brilliant communities like Brixton.

Speaking of the exhibition, Layla Andrews said:

“This International Women’s Day, I wanted to celebrate brilliant female artists and the women who have shaped me to be who I am today, in a space that felt inclusive and brings people together. I sat for some time thinking about female-identifying artists whose work I love and I’ve been incredibly lucky to feature the work of these seven amazing women. Some of the artists I have admired for years, some I have been lucky to work and collaborate with previously, and one of the artists I met in Brixton Village one day when we complimented one another’s outfits and then discovered each other’s art! I absolutely love that we are creating a pop up show within the Village in a space that is currently unoccupied.”