The Church Commissioners have announced the installation of a temporary art exhibition in Porchester Place in celebration of a prominent local artist.
As part of the Church Commissioners’ celebration in 2018 of their 150 years of ownership of the Hyde Park Estate, the Hyde Park Estate team applied to Westminster City Council for a green plaque to be erected at 5 Porchester Place, to honour a long-standing tenant of the Church Commissioners, Halima Nałęcz, whose Drian Gallery occupied the property for over 40 years between the 1950s and the 1990s.
Born in 1914 in Antonowo, near Vilnius (then still part of Poland), Halima Nałęcz arrived in England in 1947 and became a prominent part of the London art scene of the 1960s and worked for more than 40 years as a promoter of new and emerging artists. During this time, she helped to jump-start many high-profile careers and became an accomplished artist herself. An avid supporter of the arts, Halima had a strict rule that she would buy work by someone else to add to the Drian Gallery’s permanent collection for every painting of hers sold. By 1983, this rule meant she could donate a staggering 565 works to Polish national museums, including 80 of her own.
After over 320 exhibitions, the gallery held its last in 1989, although continued to trade until 1998, ten years before Halima’s death at the age of 94 in 2008.
To honour this extraordinary legacy, the Commissioners have announced Kaleidoscope: A Celebration of Colour, a modern-day recreation of the Drian gallery at 14 Porchester Place, taking place on Thursday-Sunday, 9th September – 10th October 2021 from 12pm – 6pm with free entry. The gallery will feature works by artists both originally championed and inspired by Halima, including Michael Sandle RA and John Pelling, and a selection of her own works.