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In conversation with Andre and Stephen

Stephen Honrsby-Smith

In the 1970s Idi Amin's ethnic cleansing of Uganda led to thousands having to flee his persecution leaving everything behind and having to face a guilt - ridden and resentful post-colonial West. Andre comes from a family of artists, architects and impresarios that escaped Amin to the sanctuary of the UK. Britain was there to provide a rudder during choppy waters. In spite of the inevitable cultural shock of being a border at an esteemed public school in Surrey, Andre formally trained as an artist as well as being influenced by his cultural ancestral inheritance of his family to pursue his way. He especially was encouraged by his architect father, artist mother, and his aunt who married an A list African Asian artist. Now with his rug business Andre is inspired to bring all of his environment together with the 'blue -blooded Asian Africanness': a life of cultural vibrancy and diversity.

Andre has selected paintings by Stephen Hornsby-Smith in his vision to bring like-minded artists to convert visual language to stunning rugs. Andre wanted the modern, the semi-abstract anthropological and color motif bound in with SHS's work to celebrate and refine and transform as a metaphor for cultural diversity. His intention is to produce originality as a counterpoint to the globalization of 2nd rate ideas and the bland. He takes SHS's bold designs and translates them into ornamental chic, the sensual yet contemporary and functional. Andre has captured the climactic and environmental heat and beauty of SHS's work and this does seem to be a genuine collaboration that doesn't have to dilute or corrupt the improvisational quality of the original paintings. This does suggest that there is a conviction from these artists that want to redefine the nightmare of creeping globalization and all its negativity - we shall see.

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