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Nottingham Castle

Peace Love Unity and Fun

10 July 08 words: Amanda Young
The New Art Exchange exhibition of hip hop culture, as old school meets new school

Image courtesy of Ben Harriott

Located in the multi ethnic community of Hyson Green, the New Art Exchange is the first art gallery outside of London dedicated to Black and Asian artists. The anticipation over the opening of this gallery has been building for the past few months with it being blocked off from view with a wall memorial created by the local community. It finally opened it doors with a soft lunch in June and it did not disappoint. The building is spectacular and is in a prime location to interact with the community. Located next to the Hyson Green park and ride tram station, traveling to the gallery shouldn’t be a problem.

Upon entering the building you are immediately hit by the main exhibition labelled Peace, love, unity and fun. The four main exhibits in this room portray hip hop as a culture and what it stands for, they contrast old school hip hop with the new hip hop. There are four artists on show here, Chin, Kid 30, Tower and Kaption1. The painting that immediately stands out is Kaption1’s new skool meets old skool. It is a mixture of spray paint and ink and fuses many colours together. It is split in two, the left side of the painting shows black and white tower blocks with kisses and love hearts coming from the roof, the right with a classic car associated with old school hip hop pushing the tower blocks out of view. 'Old Skool' is written at the top. The kisses and hearts coming from the tower symbolize the hip hop culture of peace and love, no matter where it is played.

Tower’s straight hip hop is similar to Kpation1’s as they both look at the divide between old school and new school hip hop. However, Tower fuses the two together. Using just spray paint, there are two parts to the painting, the left showing the bling culture of the new school and the right has the real hip hop life. This painting is an example of what the exhibition is trying to say, that hip hop is more than just music, it’s a lifestyle. New school can work with old school and you can see in the painting the enjoyment that the artist had completing it.

The main exhibition room is big and has a lot of potential to hold even larger exhibitions in the future. The second gallery, located on the second floor gives you a feel for what the curator and director of the gallery want for the building, to integrate it and become a focal point for the community. The gallery will host it’s main launch in August with a lot of potential for this to become a great hit and a place which the local community can be proud of.

'Peace, love, unity and fun' was showing at the New Art Exchange until the end of June.

New Art Exchange

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