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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

Virtual Pride Art Gallery 2021 – London

Our Virtual Pride celebrations

El amor en los tiempos del cólera/Love in the Time of Cholera

An exhibition based on the themes found in Gabriel García Márquez's novel

In Márquez's novel, the use of the word cólera has a double meaning. In Spanish it is the actual disease but also it can mean passion or rage and the story investigates love as a spiritual concept as well as a passionate one wherein the heroine is torn between two men who represent each type of love. The backdrop of the novel sees her scientific/spiritual/medical husband work to rid the town of cholera, against ongoing civil strife and death. Her other love is passionate and when she rejects him he seduces hundreds of women but 'mentally' stays true to her.

Many of us know the tug of our heart to places it should not go, but also the happiness of finding love. In this odd time of Covid we also are aware of death in the background, always there and each of us has had to find a way forward. This year's exhibition is in a way a diary of a hard year with love, sex, disease and death as constant companions or contemplations. The show is not about Covid, but I have asked all the artists to present an image made since March last year. It is in a way a queer image diary of life in a troubled time.

Each artist presents a photographic image (be the original a photograph, a painting, drawing or sculpture) which is printed and framed to the same size (A1) so that formally they make a strong visual show in the actual space. While each image is unique, having the form of them the same offers each artist an equal share of the visitor's attention.

The exhibition, in virtual as well as physical form, is an attempt to get back to some sort of new normal not only for the artists and Clifford Chance but for the public as well. The show will present personal accounts of a global issue that has yet to be truly understood or under control. No one's lives will be exactly the same after an event like this, and we welcome the works as a step into the new. Love at any time is a fragile flower we all must work to nourish, regardless of who the beloved is.

Michael Petry, exhibition curator

The exhibition has been realised with the support of theprintspace and David Mitchell Picture Framers

Artists' statements are their own, unless signed MP which are written by the Curator.

Welcome message from Michael Bates

Our yearly Pride Art exhibition, in virtual as well as physical form, is an attempt to get back to some sort of new normal not only for the artists and Clifford Chance but for the public as well. The show will present personal accounts of a global issue that has yet to be truly understood or under control. No one's lives will be exactly the same after an event like this, and we welcome the works as a step into the new. Love at any time is a fragile flower we all must work to nourish, regardless of who the beloved is.

An exhibition tour with the curator

Join Michael Petry on a virtual tour of the Arcus Pride Art exhibition space, and learn more about the stories, experiences and personal accounts behind some of the fascinating pieces on display this year.


Furmaan Ahmed

Gails of Zaqqum, 2021, photograph

© The Artist

Kyle photographed at Scalpsie Bay, home of the Selkies of Scotland.

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Dead Birthday Flowers at 4 weeks
and 2 days, 28 November 2020, photograph

© The Artist


Stav B

Lover's Letter, April 2021, text and photograph

© The Artist

A lover exchanging words in times of precarity, uncertainty, danger and challenge. Quill and heart intertwined. Fear and the sense of hope and adventure await, combined. And love? It withstands, resilient, undying and full of light.

I am a visual artist, conceiving and manifesting an interdisciplinary body of work, that I have been developing and expanding, Spoken word, Live Art, Installation, Video and Sound. My current practice combines all of these elements, which have been incorporated and synthetically established for a multimedia presentation.

My work is placed at the junction of visual art and performance, and deals with the on-going theme of (sexual) identity, love, the politics of the female gaze, the aesthetics of beauty, obsession and transformation, nature and evolution. The linear progress of my body of work has shaped my direction and focus.

I am currently a first year PhD Candidate at CREAM School of Arts, University of Westminster.

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Scott Baxter

Aloysius Revisted, March 2021, cardboard delivery box, gesso, micro-fine glitter, varnish, faux fur

© The Artist

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Jason Carr

Freedom in the Falling, 2020, oil on canvas

© The Artist

The moment of decision…do you all free and be your truest form, speak your truth without fear, listen and gain knowledge? Do you discover your full capacity spiritually and mentally? Or do you stay levitated in limbo never knowing what the possibilities were. This shows a moment just before a decision. My muse for this is @danistjames who is co-founder of which supports trans youth.

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Maya Chowdhry

Galvanising Change, 2021, digital art

© The Artist

This is a graph of an audience's emotional response to Galvanising Change, an experiential audio Installation examining climate change. The work uses a wearable sensor to measure their galvanic skin responses whilst they are listening to climate justice stories of varying intensities – which are then triggered according to the audience’s emotional reactions.

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Anka Dąbrowska

Untamed, February 2021, archival ink and spray paint on paper

© The Artist

I am a queer artist, actively working in drawing, illustration, sculpture, and installation art. My creative practice is deeply rooted in drawing and numerous metaphorical representations of urban and rural environments.

Through my work, I reflect on the vulnerability and the temporary nature of things, the relations between people and the city space, and the intersection of the public and the private.

The seascape drawing is a bright example of a poignant moment of transience that eloquently show us my worries. Questions about vulnerability and protection, personal stories and the current physical sensations of anxiety.

Anka Dąbrowska (b. 1979 Warsaw, Poland) graduated in 2003 from University of Northumbria in Newcastle where she attained her Masters in Fine Art with distinction. She lives and works in London and has exhibited widely nationally and internationally.

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KV Duong

Collision No. 11, 2020, acrylic and collage on board

© The Artist

KV Duong (b.1980 Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam) is a London based multi-disciplinary artist. Duong explores themes of war, migration and cultural assimilation through a re-examination of his parents' experience of the Vietnam war and his own experience of growing up in Canada in a minority immigrant family. War trauma and integration are correlated with the artist's coming out as a gay Asian man.

In his paintings, Duong blends layers of acrylic paint with historic images of the Vietnam war and images of his body painting performances. The original source images are corrupted using paint and physical mark making techniques – ripping, scratching, erasing – to disrupt the photograph’s original representation. The ruptured surface of the work responds to the conflict. The sense of movement in the painting responds to his migration journey. The final work functions like a palimpsest where a new narrative is created while the work’s history is revealed through its scars.

Duong is a self-taught artist with a background in structural engineering. He has been a part of several open competitions including Derwent Art Prize, Discerning Eye, Royal Cambrian Academy Open and BBC's Royal Academy Summer Exhibition Programme.

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Roberto Ekholm

Mapping: Stroll, photocollage, edition of 30

© The Artist

Mapping: Stroll is part of a photo collage series collecting responses from public bodies, pseudo-science, and social platforms responding to viruses and illnesses. The collages merge historical and contemporary references.

Stroll brings together references to Cholera, exploring the relationship between water supply and the public. In 1854 the public drinking fountain at Broad street (Golden Square) was the source of the Soho Cholera breakout. While public drinking fountains were spreading disease, ornamental fountains were being built in Trafalgar Square. The piece is a play on the social stratification of public water by manipulating historical drawings such as fountain design by Giuseppe Barberi and a caricature etching by W. Heat (1825) about the monstrous contents in a teacup of a magnified drop of Thames water; revealing the impurity of London drinking water.

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Z'ev Faith

Bloodied Love, 2021, photograph

© The Artist

Bloodied Love – Self Portrait is by Z'ev Faith, a performance artist and photographer. Z'ev has documented in actions and images their gender transition in often harsh videos that depict the trauma they have gone through to come to a place of selfhood and acceptance. The image hints at performance but also of home and private rituals (baths) which viewers will understand has been the stage for many performers in the last year. How artists who are used to performing and a live audience have coped in the pandemic is of great interest as documentation as well as art works like this photo, which fits perfectly into the theme of this year's show.

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Matt Gale

Just Pants (No Fats, No Fems), 2020, fabric

© The Artist

Just Pants is an ongoing project started during the first lockdown of 2020 as a means to explore vulnerability. Wearable sculptures display forms and structures that might be perceived as an attempt to attract or seduce, but also as armour. There is often a tension created by seeking attention, whether professionally or privately, that can lead to feeling exposed and vulnerable. I am interested in the contradiction of desiring and even pursuing situations that ironically create stress and anxiety as much as the strategies employed to cope. Some pieces employ copper that has been 'grown' through fabric mimicking how other organisms might grow a shell or horns for protection. Intricate, decorative stitching features heavily because of its often historically changeable associations with effeminacy.

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Nigel Grimmer

(left) Analogue Disruptions (Andrew, Sleeve, 2020) mounted photographic print in sprayed wooden frame, fabric sleeve (right) Analogue Disruptions (Sam, Sleeve, 2020), mounted photographic print in sprayed wooden frame, fabric sleeve, adhesive labels

© The Artist

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Sunil Gupta

Untitled, London, 2021, photograph

courtesy The Artist and Hales Gallery, Stephen Bulger Gallery and Vadehra Art Gallery, © The Artist. All Rights Reserved DACS

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Roxana Halls

Laughing While Perching (a vulturous boredom), 2020, oil on linen

© The Artist

My work using laughter explores ways of depicting women's internalised rules of conduct and my perception of the their conflicted, ever fluctuating response to external expectations. I’m interested in posing questions about the ways in which within contemporary culture women are appraised, influenced and policed and how this 'self-surveillance' circumscribes the repertoire of legitimate actions available to women.

Many of the subjects of my paintings offer a riposte to self-consciousness. They often teeter on the verge of indulging in 'catastrophic' behaviour, or at times topple over. They may be inappropriate and immune to self-censure. When I paint images of women laughing, eating or interacting, I am always cognisant of the fact that the most seemingly innocuous actions can be subversive, just as acts of transgression may be foregrounded by the prosaic.

In making such work, I have been inspired by writers such as Hélène Cixous, in particular her groundbreaking pieces such as 'Sorties' and 'The Laugh of the Medusa', in which she dissects the asymmetric relationship between sex and power. When I paint images depicting female pleasure, excessiveness or impropriety, I think of Cixous, her ideas and her stories. She shows us how resistances can take many forms.

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Christa Holka

Kiki, London, May 2020, photograph

© The Artist

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Rachael House

Solstice Gift Drawing-Tree of Life, after Hannah Cohoon 1854, 2020, collage, paper, ink, ceramic, hessian

© The Artist

Partake of this fruit from the tree of knowledge.
Taste it.
For a new Eden.
For gentler, kinder beginnings.
Open your hearts to the genderqueer deities.

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Sadie Lee

Concealer, 2021, oil on canvas (make up by Jet Lee Frank)

© The Artist

2020 really knocked my confidence. I felt unsettled and wasn't able to make any work at all for the whole year. I felt like I had lost my identity and would drift pointlessly about for days without even looking in a mirror. With that in mind, on my birthday, locked down in my tiny garden, I invited my 8 year old son to give me a makeover. I gave him my redundant make up bag, removed things like nail polish that might cause actual blindness, but otherwise told him to do what he liked. So in effect, as I've captured his creative handywork on my blank canvas of a face, I regard this self portrait as a collaborative piece.

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Louise Leonard

Untitled & Unseen, Summer 2020, photograph

© The Artist

Leonard's image of a nude woman behind a steamed glass bath wall references the well known erotic painting The Turkish Bath by Ingres. In the original, the naked flesh of many women most likely members of a harem were on view to the male gaze (1852). Ingres's imagined scene (for any man, save a neutered slave, to see the naked harem women would end in instant death) was obviously erotic, and in a dominant patriarchal tradition of othering women and non-westerners. The work hints at lesbianism (an erotic fantasy for many heterosexual men) and the image and many like it have become part of the visual imagery many women same-sex lovers have included in their work. Leonard turns this trope its head, presenting someone known to the artist, but obscured from the viewer by the steam. It is an intimate view into a private world and one that seems closed and possibly claustrophobic in a time of pandemic. It wrests power from the male gaze in a tender depiction of an invisible relationship.

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Jill Levy

Untitled, December 2020, oil on canvas

© The Artist

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Gemma Marmalade

Self burial, 2021, photograph

© The Artist

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Hamish Morrow

untitled, 2021, inkjet printed photocopy paper

© The Artist

The marble sculpture in Morrow's sculpture is the famous Barberini Faun, which is housed at the Glyptothek in Munich. It is believed to be either a late Greek original (c. 100 bc) or an early Roman copy and once graced Hadrian's Mausoleum. Hadrian is best known for his male lover Antinous. Hadrian had thousands of statues of the young man commissioned and placed throughout the Roman Empire. Their love has long been a queer male trope in the visual arts and it is no surprise that the Faun, with its erotic depiction of drunkenness attracted Hadrian's eye. While the work is obviously erotic to modern viewers in 1830 it was seen as tame enough to be made into Nymphenburg porcelain for a more general public release. Morrow's work is often based on well known classical subjects that he deconstructs as an investigation of the erotic, beauty and our own prejudices towards those topics in relation to same-sex lovers.

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James Mortimer

Crocodile, 2020, oil on canvas

© The Artist

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Stiofan O'Ceallaigh

A Heart Full of Love, 2021, acrylic on paper

© The Artist

Painted in the Barely Visible style which has become to be synonymous with a dripping paint effect A Heart Full of Love depicts an anatomical sketch of the human heart. Within the heart is another sketch of two men kissing, hidden in plain sight. The heart and men represent 'love' in my own symbiotic way.

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Charan Singh

video still from They Called it Love? But Was it Love, London, 2020

Video commissioned by Visual AIDS 2020 © The Artist and Sepia Eye Gallery, New York

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Veronica Slater

Covid Chronicles 23rd March to 15th June, 2020, mixed media on paper

© The Artist

Covid Chronicles was created during the first 12-week lockdown in 2020.

It was strange and difficult not to have access to my studio during this period, so Covid Chronicles took on the role of a visual diary, with each piece representing a week.

The work chronicles an internalised landscape of anxiety and isolation through the labour intensive mark making, that created an obsessive 'noise' to drown out fear of the pandemic. It bought back the panic that was prevalent during the height of AIDs and the hostile environment of that time. The virus is culturally mediated, then as it is now, where bodies become the sites of 'battles', 'defence', 'attack', becoming 'territories' that are 'colonised'. This time Covid exposing the inequities of class and systematic racism.

LGBTQ+ communities rely on venues and gatherings to nurture their sense of 'family' – lockdown paid no heed to our alternative families, resonating with the past, privileging the nuclear family structure and exacerbating the isolation felt in LGBTQ+ communities.

Perhaps Pride 2021 will return to its origins; recognising and celebrating the core values of resistance that ignited and sustained Pride during its early years. Specially to highlight the current oppression and global struggles faced by many LGBTQ+ communities, that are fighting the hostile environments that we in the UK faced, in our not so distant past.

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Cathy Stocker

The Permanent Fragility of Being, August 2020, oil, acrylic and conté on canvas

© The Artist

The Permanent Fragility of Being (August 2020) is one of a series of paintings made during the Pandemic. It is an attempt to make sense of, plus navigate around, this new landscape all of us now find ourselves in. From March to December 2020, working from my life drawings, I embarked on a series of paintings, including portraits, which functioned as a kind of love letter, a visual correspondence, with friends and family. These paintings are a way of reinforcing my connection with people despite the distance that separates us.

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Robert Taylor

Kintsugi Me, 2021, photograph

© The Artist

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum, highlighting the cracks and repairs as simply an event in the life of an object, rather than marking the end of its usefulness or value. In embracing the flaws and imperfections, an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art is created.

I've experience surprising benefits from sharing and embracing my frailty.

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Pride Art 2021: Change

Clifford Chance's Arcus Pride Art initiative is designed to challenge perceptions and provoke thought and conversation through works of art exploring themes including relationships, sexuality, gender identity and expression and the human body. 

We encourage you to take some time to explore these works. Please enjoy them and be empowered.

About Arcus

Arcus is our global inclusive employee network open to all Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans*, Intersex, Queer people and their Allies​​​. Arcus aims to encourage an inclusive and integrated culture within Clifford Chance that gives colleagues the choice to be open and out.

Learn more

Arcus archives

Explore some of our previous exhibitions to see how Arcus Pride Art has evolved in recent years.

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