Spotlight on OB’s exhibition

The spotlight will be on Old Brentwood Taro Qureshi next month when he holds his first London exhibition at the Oxford House Gallery, in Bethnal Green.

Twenty-three-year-old Taro’s exhibition titled “Head of A Boxer” will be open daily from 10am to 8pm between February 2nd – 29th. Oxford House is a community and arts centre in the heart of London’s East End.

Taro, who left Brentwood in 2011, said: “I had known since Brentwood that art was intrinsic to the kind of future I wanted for myself, and I hope it showed. I hold my A* at Art A Level to be one of my proudest achievements to this day!

“In those classrooms and under the guidance of the excellent Art Department, I developed the first threads of a personal stylistic approach. Mr McAuliffe first showed me the works of Cy Twombly, and Mrs Parsons introduced me to Jean-Michel Basquiat and Francis Bacon. These alone were gifts that I am profoundly grateful for, but they went ahead and contributed much more to my formation anyway!

“The way that Brentwood treated artistic pursuit as legitimate, no less than Maths or History, gave me the courage to pursue it to the fullest. This is a refreshing attitude in today's society which seems to have become slightly anti-creative.”

On leaving Brentwood, Taro went to Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication in North Greenwich taking a foundation course specialising in graphic design.

Despite spending much of his time in the company of very talented and creative individuals, Taro realised that graphic design did not nurture his ‘desire for expression.’ He then went on to study a degree in Illustration at Middlesex University.

“Middlesex gave me my own workspace, life drawing every week and a close relationship with the tutors who are all very inspiring. It was here I learned the importance of staying true to your vision, and your message. It taught me to trust my gut as far as creating was concerned,” he explained.

After graduating, Taro moved back home to Romford completing commissions as they came up. He then applied to an Open Call put out by the Oxford House Gallery, and they accepted! “Since then, I have been painting relentlessly in my bedroom (which I threw a dustsheet down in) and called a studio,” he said.

“Through my work, I attempt to explore the themes of physical expressions of mental illness, the horrors of indoctrination and the disorientation of altered states. I want to lampoon everything I find scary and distasteful about the world. I want to be able to make people laugh, or shock them by inviting them into a world of juxtaposition and abrasion that is a fractured caricature of our own. I use collaged headlines and photographs (another trick I learned at Brentwood) to anchor the pieces to reality and attempt to give them the same authority as a newspaper headline. Because, why shouldn't they have?”

Headmaster Ian Davies said: “It is always exciting to hear from Old Brentwoods and to see them fulfilling their dreams. We wish Taro every success with his exhibition.”

More details about Taro’s first London exhibition can be found at here