Excerpt from my memoir:
"In the summer of 1980 I was offered my first solo exhibition in London at the Car Breaker Gallery in an area of West London called Frestonia. Originally home to 120 squatters with many artists, actors, writers and musicians among its residents, Frestonia was part of the counterculture and had an interesting history. It had declared itself a free republic. But I felt comfortable among all this anarchy and mayhem, enjoying the creativity that came with it.
The exhibition proved a memorable event although the opening day was rather shambolic. We hung the paintings in the morning then shared a meal in the gallery that evening, followed by the most dysfunctional private view I can remember. As it grew dark, we turned out the lights and viewed the exhibition by candlelight. Later, one of the residents gave an impromptu performance in the middle of the room. It seemed like the whole street was squeezed into the gallery that night."
Excerpt from 'Art, Life and Everything' (unpublished memoir) by Julie Umerle, edited by Anna McNay.
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Copyright © Julie Umerle