India Rose James on ‘An Arcadian Kind of Love’
Set on the edge of Soho, is towering gallery Soho Revue, this month hosting a show entitled ‘An Arcadian Kind of Love’ exploring an alternative history of Valentine's Day. Gallery curator India Rose James came across the ancient Greek festival of “Lupercalia” while researching the holiday of Valentine's Day and its alternatives. Celebrated on Mount Lykaion or “Wolf Mountain" throughout the festival of Lupercalia, people’s souls were believed to be purified bringing not only joy, but health and fertility to women.
Art of London in conversation with India Rose James about forthcoming exhibition An Arcadian Kind of Love at Soho Revue Gallery.
- Can you tell us a little about the Soho Revue?
Soho Revue first opened back in 2015 – I’ve been collecting art personally for a while, and wanted to create a space where I could champion and provide a platform for the emerging artists I love. The name of the gallery was inspired by my grandfather’s members’ club ‘The Raymond Revue Bar’. Soho has always been the vibrant soul of London, also having a history of showcasing women - I’m now taking a more modern, artistic approach to this.
- What was it about the destination of London’s West End and that drew you to choose it as a setting for the Soho Revue?
My heart has always belonged to Soho - I moved here when I was 18 and the family connection has always kept me here, I moved out of the centre to have some extra space for my daughter and 3 dogs. When we closed the gallery in 2017 after I had my daughter, I missed being in Soho every day, which was a key reason for relaunching in 2019.
- What was it that inspired ‘An Arcadian Kind of Love’?
It all begun with a conversation with a friend where we were debating the origins of Valentine’s Day. I took to my phone and started looking into it, and came across the Festival of the Arcadian Lykaia in Latin, “Lupercalia”. I was instantly taken by the story and how it celebrated women, and announced to my friend that this was going to be the basis of my February show.
- The exhibition comprises of a collection of pieces from seven artists, can you tell us a little about the artists and the works showcased?
When I started contacting artists for the show I wanted it to be a diverse mix of styles, so there was something for everyone in the show. Some I’ve worked with in the past and some new to Soho Revue. I only show work from artists that I personally love and would have in my own home, I have to trust my eye. If I don’t believe in what I’m selling then why should my clients? Each offer their unique responses to the Lykaia, producing work quite different to the subjects they might usually choose. In keeping with the festival, they explore identity and the body through themes of intimacy, nature, and the senses. What emerges is poetic assortment of works, ranging from boisterously expressive pieces which bring alive the often dark, hedonistic sprit of the festival to surreal scenes which embrace its mystical roots. Their works conjure new narratives and are unified in enlivening the festival once again.
- Through this exhibition you are supporting Choose Love, what drew you to support the charity for this showcase?
I’ve been a big supporter of the Choose Love cause over the years, and this is now our second time working together. I feel passionately about the work they do in supporting refugees and displaced people, which is now more vital than ever, and thought they would be the perfect fit for our Valentine’s show as a means of spreading love beyond those in our immediate circle to those who need it most.
'An Arcadian Kind of Love' at Soho Revue Gallery
Open to the public:
From 3 February Wednesday - Saturday | 12pm -6pm
31.01.2022 - 2 years ago