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Curator Feature / Interview with Sade English, founder of Anticlone Gallery

E m m a n u e l l e  M a r e c h a l

Curator Feature/Interview with Sade English, founder of Anticlone Gallery

Founder and Artistic director of Anticlone Sade English, invited me into her Home Studio to discuss Anticlone Gallery and the evolution of her journey and the Arts industry as she see’s it. The Anticlone Gallery is the evolution of a conceptual and contemporary Art which platforms an unparalleled selection of unique, non conformist Artists.
Surrounded by a mixture of Contemporary and African Art, we turn the tables on the multifaceted Curator, who usually is the one asking Artists questions. Personally invited by Sade, I am the first Black female journalist to interview her yet. Signifying a change and demand for representation not just within the Arts & Design Industry, but globally.

Studio Shots

As the Founder of Anticlone , it is known as a movement, concept, and now Gallery. Can you talk us through Anticlone as a movement and concept, please?

The Anticlone Definition is: to not conform to society. Anticlone as a concept has evolved through life experience, whilst breaking down and understanding society as a whole. I recognised society has a somewhat closed minded view that attempts to prevent our true freedom of expression. This was from experiencing first-hand, the contradictions we face as we evolve as individuals from adolescent to adult age. Especially within the media, educational system and society’s overall impression on how we should or shouldn’t be. We are almost becoming clone like through existing rather than truly living. Witnessing societies constant desire for all to conform to the ‘norm’, created an urge to resist which birthed the term Anticlone.

Anticlone became the conceptual term for my first project in 2013, SADE ENGLISH a Visual Arts and Design brand. With this, the concept became a movement consisting of Artists and likeminded creatives that shared thoughts and methods of expression all through simple conversation. The term Anticlone has become a beacon for individuals to collectively share whether in front of my lens, or now through their own Artistry within Anticlone Gallery. Anticlone as, a concept is embodying non-conformity.

Studio Shots

Can you tell us what your vision of the art world/industry is at the moment? What was the reason that led you to create Anticlone Gallery?

Art to me has and will always mean expression. It’s an unspoken language that enables great conversation which has always been necessary. However, the Arts industry as it currently stands seems to narrate a repetitive story, that’s has not evolved. Artists that are currently seen as ‘of the moment’ to me personally, seem to have as similar back story. The story being, Arts institutions, mentorships, internships etc, have the same mundane narration which is projected as the only route to what society sees as a ‘successful’ Artist. To me, the Art world is not evolving with the Artists, but instead the Artists must surrender to suit the Art world. I have noticed this, which led for me to create Anticlone Gallery.

Whilst I founded Anticlone, the definition bonds an entire community which has evolved to become a movement and collective of powerful individuals who do not allow society to mould, devolve, nor silence their freedom of expression. Anticlone Gallery was made, in memory of my late mother Marcia Byfield, a Graphics Designer and Teacher who uplifted and embraced non conformity. Myself embracing nonconformity, after witnessing her death in February in 2020, I made it my duty to develop the Anticlone concept into a Gallery.

Studio Shots

Your gallery specialises in Conceptual Contemporary Art & Design. Whilst the Anticlone movement describes the Art produced in the era we are currently living in, it feels like the Arts industry as whole is stuck on both the past, and Artists of the past. Why is that in your opinion?

The Arts industry like all establishments has set traditions and foundations, we know Art signifies expression of the Human mind. The past is essential in order to learn from, for this reason history has always been important. However it’s repetitive teachings and practises of old skills alongside continued discussions of the same Artists, in my opinion is to mould and pre-empt which Art is socially acceptable. All Artists are gifted and talented in their own right, however Individuality becomes less apparent and somewhat blurred, when the industry reinforces old styles, or Artist from the past. The ability to create something completely new is rare, and perhaps even impossible as we are subconsciously inspired by things before and around us. I believe if the Arts industry showcases the same Art, style, methods and
teachings, it hinders true freedom of expression. Art as expression is often in response to societies control. Freedom of expression in my opinion should always be the focus, true freedom of non-conformist expression is what at the core of Anticlone.




Do you feel that also explains why artists from non-conventional backgrounds don’t get the visibility they deserve?

Artist from non-conventional backgrounds rarely get visibility. However, there is a small handful, these few are often connected and manoeuvre within the Arts industry within the same circles, it is never by chance. The Arts industry wants to showcase diversity, Globally we see this is apparent and a change has come, but the balance of non-conventional vs conventional is still far from equal. Alongside class, gender and race, I feel that the Arts Industry is built upon a legacies of individuals that lead the culture for this reason it will always recognise Artist’s from conventional backgrounds over an independent artist. Welcoming Artists from all different frames of life is essential in order to nurture raw talent, conversation and expression to be shared. Talent is far from few, but access to talented Artists is the problem. Due to
titles used such as ‘emerging’ or ‘established’, raw talent is not often platformed into the mainstream media. Stressing the importance and value of true expression, without surrendering neither the industry nor society’s labels. Anticlone Gallery has removed these blurred terminologies altogether, enabling the viewer to appreciate Art for what it is, an expression of self.

What should an artist have to be exhibited in your gallery? Can you tell us about some of your Artists and why their work matters?

Simply true freedom of expression, as human beings we have dealt with conformity in one way or another, the freedom to create authentically and transparently is the foundation for each Artist within my Gallery. The ability to share our emotions, thoughts and indifference through visuals is powerful. Every artist that Anticlone Gallery represents matters, I cannot single out one, Othello De‘ Souza Hartley, Conrad Armstrong, George Kanis, Parma Ham, Alexandra Jamies, Elika Bo, Robert Mateusz Marciniak and Tia Yoon’s work all matter. Each Artists is a multidisciplinary within their works, they embody Anticlone.

Conrad Armstrong

You are an artist yourself, but you’re also a woman and mixed-race. How did your experience inform your decision to create Anticlone Gallery?

Being both Founder as well as an Artist enables me to have a grounded and level understanding of what Artist themselves wish their work to symbolise. Understanding the technique through my own Art background, gives me an advantage that in my opinion cannot be taught. Having a concrete relationship with my Artists enables trust, as I truly believe Art is an extension of each Individual’s lived experience in some way or another. To be vulnerable is strength and each trust me with their vulnerability through representing their work, which I am thankful for.

Being a woman, and a Mixed-Race woman doesn’t solely define me, however it is a huge part of my tory, being of Native America/Italian , Jamaican and African ancestry has given me the strength and confidence to move forward and achieve ambitions and goals with great pride, women in the history of Art were often seen as a Muse. I as a woman, and a Mixed-Race woman at that , am here to own my place within the Arts industry shamelessly.

Conrad Armstrong

Your gallery is dedicated to your late mother. Is legacy important to you? Why?

There are few Black/Native American owned galleries in London. So legacy is extremely important to me, my ancestry is rich with culture and creativity, my Jamaican great grandmother & grandmother Daphne English were both Dressmakers before immigrating to England. My brand SADE ENGLISH is named in Memory of her. While my Mother was and Artist & Art Director before becoming one of very few Black teachers in schools she taught in. All of the women in my life have paved a way for me to have the confidence and ability to be where I am today, I take it upon myself to represent them. Legacy paves way for others to know what they are cable of.

You are creating quite a unique gallery in the art space, with a pool of creatives whose craft is different from one another. You also seem to pay a lot of attention to their stories, why is that?

I personally feel peoples lived experiences is what makes them human, this is what bonds humanity as a whole. Understanding an Artist’s personal journey and experience in my opinion gives me a clear insight of their Art is on a deeper level. Art is an extension of an Individual, however it cannot determine the Artists entire existence, only a small entity.

Alejandra jaimes

Anticlone Gallery was meant to be a physical space, but you had to change your plans due to COVID19. How was/is the process?

The Plan is to continue developing the online platform. Lockdown has awakened ideas, where I am able to focus on ways that enable to be as interactive and informative as possible. This process has been important in order to create a new dimension and connection with the viewer. Covid 19 has caused many unfortunate issues world wide, the Arts have been badly affected. It has raised many questions from both the Industry and the Artist’s to explore and adopt different methods to interact with their audience. The plan is to do a physical exhibit once it is safe, I have plans to bring Anticlone Gallery to London, Morocco, Ghana, Tokyo, Berlin and Paris.

You are creating quite a unique gallery in the art space, what would like Anticlone gallery to be and not to be when you look at other galleries? What would you like to see change?

I want Anticlone Gallery to be a safe space for all, a space where both Artists and viewers can come together to express, question and learn from one another with no barriers, whatever their background.I am a proud Londoner, I grew up in Peckham, south east London and felt free to explore everywhere, because of the confidence my late mother instilled in me, however there are many who still feel that the Arts industry is not inclusive of everyone. This is something that must change, and Anticlone Gallery is somewhere I wish break this cycle. Galleries and Museums have free collections for all, however having these things in grand spaces that do not often enough engage or interact with diverse communities is unfortunate. Change Is happening, but there is still more that needs to be done.

Tia yoon Painting

Greg Kanis

Othello De’Souza-Hartley

What is next for Anticlone Gallery?

New works from Anticlone Artists will be launching online the shop at over the next few months. Alongside this there will be a series of new interviews that will be released giving the new audiences an insight to each Artist Anticlone represents. February will be the month I also introduce a new section titled Anticlone Articles to the online platform. Creatives, journalists and friends I have gained on my travels will be contributing Articles on everything from subcultures, Artists and more that embodies the definition of Anticlone, stemming globally from Los Angeles to Tokyo.

Instagram: @sadeenglish &
Twitter: @AnticloneG & @sadeenglish