The Muse Gallery
Thursday, August 12, 2021
Sunday, August 29, 2021
269 Portobello Road, W11 1LR
The Muse Gallery

Combined EFX

Pick and Mix


Akua Afari

Loretta Campbell

Martine Hans-Jorie

Nikolle Hellis

12 August  – 29 August

Opening 14th of August 6-9pm



The ‘Pick and Mix’ exhibition reflects the journey of 4 black women who came together 15 years ago with the goal of exploring and expressing their individual journeys as black women in modern Britain. Sponsored by Kens­ington and Chelsea, the original exhibition took place at this very same gallery as part of Black History Month in 2005. Collectively named

‘Combined EFX’, artists Martine Hans-Jourie, Loretta Campbell, Akua Afari and Nikolle Hellis came together to collate a body of work which represented the emotional journey of reclaiming their black heritage and those who were

forgotten along the road.

Presented under the name of ‘Royal Black Lives Reclaimed’, the original

exhibition unveiled each artists interpretations of the story of Sarah

Bonetta Forbes, a West African princess who had been imprisoned by a

Dahomey king and later liberated through the efforts of Queen Victoria in 1848 in an attempt to put an end to the Atlantic Slave Trade. After coming across her story, members of Combined EFX felt compelled to draw on their personal

experiences as well as their West Indian and West African heritage to depict

Sarah’s turbulent trajectory to salvation through multiple creative forums.

Drawing on their personal artistic mediums, the exhibition combines works of textile art, graphic art, photography and print to deliver an experience that is both personal to each artist yet remains a powerful reminder of cultural and historic roots.

After being invited to return by the Muse Gallery, todays ‘Pick and Mix’ collection builds on the shared purpose that bought members of Combined EFX

together 15 years ago. As well as presenting some of the original works, the

current exhibition depicts each member’s artistic journey in the years that

followed. The collaborative effort presented in this exhibition draws on

retrospective thought on their autonomous and shared journeys as black and mixed race women in western society. Collectively, the exhibition provides an expression of introspective exploration channelled through their appraisal of the captivating story of a Yoruba princess several centuries ago.