At the Larder, we’ve always championed local artists and as our regulars know, we proudly hang an eclectic range of east London artwork in our coffee shops. So we’re really excited to announce we’re launching a Wanstead exhibition space in our newly opened Filter Bar.
Set to host a changing rosta of local talent, the exhibition series kicks off with Newham’s rising star Elhaam Sahebdin. The British Mauritian conceptual artist has created a collection of limited-edition prints, greeting cards and an intricate coffee cup design titled ‘Brightness and Warmth’ especially for the exhibition launch.
We caught up with Elhaam so she could tell us in her own words about herself, her art and what she loves about our local area.
I’m a 22 year old…
brown girl who loves her plain paper notebooks, hot chocolates and exotic fruits. I used to be a student at Sarah Bonnell and then at St. Angela’s & St. Bonaventure’s Sixth Form (represent!) and I’ve lived in Newham my whole life.
I lead the double life of a creative; Monday to Friday with the GLA, evenings or weekends preparing for exhibitions, creating new pieces, sewing or packing print orders on the living room floor. It’s quite exhilarating to have such contrasting occupations and I love it!
Recently, I’ve opened a joint Etsy shop called ‘ellextash’ with my sister (@brownkidart) and times like this remind me how fortunate I am to be able to recognise and follow my passions. I hope that it inspires at least one person to make a move on theirs, no matter where they come from or what their talents are.
I’m also on Instagram @elhaam.artist so do say ‘Hi!’
You’ve probably noticed that my work tends to be …
colourful and detailed. Drawing inspiration from the ‘zentangle’ art form of creating images from repetitive patterns. Zentangle is claimed to be a form of art that is found to provide artistic satisfaction and an increased sense of personal well-being, perhaps it was the very reason I am drawn to it. I have no professional qualifications or experience in drawing, it’s all self-taught and I’m slowly developing myself in whichever way it takes me. I hope to incorporate watercolour in some of my future artworks as well as introduce more stationary.
The best part of my work is…
that I don’t have to worry too much about my materials – as long as I have my colouring pencils, fine liner pen and my sketchbook, I’m good to go. I don’t think you need to think too hard and buy lush materials, it’s about how creative you can get using what you have.
My Larder launch collection, like most of my work, is inspired from…
my own life experiences and it’s almost a visual version of the lessons I’ve learnt from them. Here’s the stories behind each of my pieces hanging in the Larder…
You are your own thoughts – make it positive, strong and beautiful. The inspiration behind this piece was the struggle in thinking constructively rather than destructively. One of the key messages from this piece is to be very selective in what we give our attention to in terms of emotions and people, as they would ultimately consume our mentality and influence our behaviour.
Grow centres around creating the opportunity to evolve and improve. This reflective piece aims to remind us to seek out growth by following our curiosities and finding the courage to step out of our comfort zones and push the boundaries our subconscious culture has placed to limit to our ambitions.
Speak focuses on the themes of sharing ideas, positivity and being vocal. This piece is about embracing our background, our past and appreciating that what we say reflects our humanity, faith and morals. It’s about reclaiming the courage in our voices to stand up for others and using whatever power and privilege we have to help those around us. Speak also touches on sharing our experiences, negative or positive, and remembering that we are not given more than we can handle in challenging situations.
Allure explores the quality of being powerfully and mysteriously enchanting. The shape of this piece derives from that of a Jasmine flower, one that is not notorious for its shape or colour, but rather its scent. I have captured my personal interpretation of the Jasmine flower’s inner beauty to emphasise its personality.
The coffee cups TITLED ‘Bright and Warmness’…
were the first product I’ve ever designed, and it was both challenging and exciting. After visiting the café in Wanstead to gain inspiration, I noticed that it seemed warm, cosy with the shelves bursting with locally sourced and handmade products. The place radiated brightness and warmth, hence the name. The honeycomb and sunflower imagery captured the café in its essence and after a few drafts and experiments, we were finally able to have them on the counters – so now the Larder’s customers can hold brightness and warmth in their hands! I really want to thank the Larder for giving me this opportunity in the first place – this has been an absolute achievement and development opportunity for me.
When it comes to east London, I really love…
supporting small businesses and friends who follow their passions (I know lots of artists, bakers and photographers and they’re all local!) It makes me happy to see them working towards their passion, be it baby steps like me.
What I love about east London, and in particular, Forest Gate and Wanstead, is that it’s such a creatively nurturing place to be. The diversity in artists and makers in the East End is reflective of its multiculturalism and I love being part of it. Cafés and local businesses are so friendly here and are happy to support artists and artisans, just like The Larder.
Elhaam’s limited edition prints and greetings cards are available to purchase from our Wanstead coffee shop. All are individually numbered and signed by Elhaam.