Spread across five floors, nestled amongst the grand Georgina townhouses of Welbeck Street, Marylebone, SoShiro gallery welcomes its visitors with the warmth you might expect when entering a childhood home. A corridor leads up to narrow, never-ending staircases and rooms fit with fireplaces and dining areas jut off unexpectedly as you climb each floor.

Home to the former Brutalist design icon the Welbeck Street Carpark, built in 1971 and demolished in recent years to make way for a luxury hotel, the surrounding area is grounded with artistic and cultural roots. So when Kenyan-born architect and designer Shiro Muchiri, first opened the doors of her townhouse gallery in September 2020, it was out of a love for preserving and celebrating these roots, wherever they may grow.

Since its opening, the gallery has aimed to encourage creative conversations between international artists and craftspeople to maintain and innovate traditional techniques. The gallery’s latest exhibition, Not Black or White, does just that. Going beyond simply showcasing the beauty of craft, it is a celebration of heritage and community; a collaborative effort of creatives from Africa and the UK, who have reimagined the traditional use of colour, technique and material to create something new.

The exhibition brings together a total of over 60 works of paintings, textiles, sculptures, and furniture made in London, South Africa, Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast. The works featured are by a hoard of contemporary artists who have delved into their heritage, the natural environment, and their personal narratives to create art that tells honest and raw stories.

Works by glass artist Chris Day stand out. The 54-year-old, from the West Midlands, was a heating and plumbing engineer before going back to university to pursue his dream of becoming a glassblower. Over the past couple of years, his sculptural glass vessels have been exhibited at some of the country's top museums (from the V&A to The National Museum of Scotland). The artist draws from his mixed heritage and references slavery and the treatment of black people in Britain and America to create works that capture the fragility and tension of his ancestry.

Shiro, explains that Not Black or White “demonstrates the power of contemporary art taking on the challenge and doing its part to help us visualise different and endless colours, making us more aware of the world we live in, the injustices that exist, the need for the love we give, and the need to preserve our heritage and the stunning natural environment that surrounds us”.

Alongside the show, there will be a series of immersive performances and talks featuring some of the artists. The exhibition runs from February 24th to March 17th 2023 and is free to attend, but visitors must book a time slot by email at hello@soshiro.co. Don't miss this opportunity to experience the power of art in action!