Mexican embassy’s ‘Comrades in Art’ competition shortlist going on show at Bethnal Green’s Espacio gallery

Artists Giuseppe Marasco and Mike Quirke with portraits they painted of each other for 'comrade in a

Artists Giuseppe Marasco and Mike Quirke with portraits they painted of each other for 'comrade in art' exhibition at Bethnal Green's Espacio gallery. Photo: Mike Quirke - Credit: Mike Quirke

Works by British artists collaborating with Mexican artists go on public show in Bethnal Green on Monday in the fifth annual “comrades in art” competition.

Portraits that Giuseppe Marasco (left) and Mike Quirke painted of each other. Photo: Mike Quirke

Portraits that Giuseppe Marasco (left) and Mike Quirke painted of each other. Photo: Mike Quirke - Credit: Mike Quirke

Works by British artists collaborating with Mexican artists go on public show in Bethnal Green on Monday in the fifth annual “comrades in art” competition.

Former art teacher Mike Quirke from Wapping’s St Patrick’s studios collaborated with Anglo-Mexican Giuseppe Marasco for a joint entry in the ‘Camaradas’ contest.

Mike, 59, a graduate of Chelsea Art College, specialises in religious icons at his studio. These include a large work in Our Lady and St Catherine of Siena RC Church in Bow and three commissions for altar pieces at Westminster Cathedral.

He left teaching in 2015 as Head of Art at Marlborough primary school in Sidcup to become a full-time artist in Wapping.


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The father-of-10 teamed up for the competition with 36-year-old art critic and painter Giuseppe Marasco, who has written about the emerging East End and London art scenes, challenging the nature that painting poses to written language.

The two “comrades in art” painted each other’s portrait in a single style, combining elements of ancient and modern iconography.

They are on the shortlist for the Mexican embassy’s annual ‘Comradas’ contest now in its fifth year to promote cultural and artistic ties across the Atlantic.

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The annual contest is open to the public to enter—as long as one British and one Mexican artist collaborate together.

This year’s shortlisted entries go on show at the Espacio gallery in Bethnal Green Road on Monday, running until the following Sunday, March 4. They include paintings, photography, video, sculpture, performance and other visual art forms, with the final winner being judged on Wednesday.

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