Strong Island Co.

Cultural & Exhibitions

SNUB23 End of Show Party at Play Dead Tonight

Tonight is the end of exhibition party for the current SNUB23 show over at Play Dead, which will include an awesome raffle for original artwork and live painting. Also a great chance to check the show if you missed it, meet the artist and grab a free beer or three.

SNUB23 End of Show (2)


SNUB23 at Play Dead

Exhibition of Photography by Meryem Amelia at The Kings Theatre

The Kings Theatre on Albert Road has for the last few years been home to not just performances on the main stage but also exhibitions of art and photography in the public spaces by the circle and bar. The exhibitions of artwork get seen by 1000s of people a month and often focus on different elements of Portsmouth.

Currently on show is an exhibition by local photographer Meryem Amelia who has her first exhibition on the walls from now until the 2nd of May, with many of her photos featuring the city. The exhibition is also open to the public on Thursday and Saturdays via the theatre box office, so if you’re passing get a look.

Below are a couple of examples of the images on show.

Photography by Meryem Amelia (1)

Photography by Meryem Amelia (2)

Illustrated Menagerie at Portsmouth Guildhall

Illustrated Menagerie, an annual project undertaken by first year BA (Hons) Illustration students at the School of Art and Design, and curated by senior lecturer in Illustration Nicola Hay, has been selected by a panel of judges for a group exhibition of work to be displayed in Portsmouth Guildhall.

Bears, dogs, foxes, goats, sharks, hawks, cats, toads, stags and rats are just some of many animals the characteristics of which Shakespeare imbues his characters. As part of the ‘Much Ado about Portsmouth’ festival in April 2016, Portsmouth will be host to a festival marking the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. These animals are just some of the thirty one creatures featured in the group piece which will be on display from 9am – 5pm every weekday and 10am – 2pm on Saturdays in the Freda Swain Business Lounge.

The Illustrated Menagerie is taking part in this year’s Much Ado About Portsmouth festival focusing on Shakespeare’s Animals for its subject matter and has created a scroll illustrating the animals of Shakespeare attempting to imbue the illustrations with something of the spirit Shakespeare intended. The imagery reflects the range of exploration of media and imagery to convey the creatures and is as varied as the animals themselves.

Central to the nature of the project is the research undertaken by the students to get ‘under the skin’ of their animal of choice, to seek to represent it in a wide variety of ways, and explore and test the results against Shakespeare’s literal and figurative use of animals in his writings. The interdisciplinary breadth of research will have students looking at their animal literally from the inside out and involves a thorough understanding of the physiology, behavior and habitat of the creature as well as the history of its representation, its social and cultural meanings and of course how its characteristics are employed within Shakespeare’s plays.

Launch Event: 6pm, Friday 22 April
Dates: 22 April – 7th June 2016
Weekdays: 9am–5pm
Saturdays: 10am–2pm

Find out more about this month’s ‘Much Ado about Portsmouth’ festival at:

Illustrated Menagerie at Portsmouth Guildhall

Sky’s Windows by Ann Quinn & Life’s Funny by Catherine Barron at Jack House Gallery

Jack House Gallery is set to be home to work by two artists, both women, both Irish and both producing extraordinarily personal paintings in very different ways. This paring of exhibitions includes ‘Sky’s Windows’ by Ann Quinn & ‘Life’s Funny’ by Catherine Barron and opens later this week.

‘Sky’s Windows’ paintings by Ann Quinn is a first opportunity to see this artist’s work in the UK, although she exhibits regularly in Ireland. Ann hails from rural Donegal and her family’s farm and it’s landscape often feature in her beautiful and deeply felt paintings which explore surface and texture in layers of colour to evoke her sense of being ‘in’ the place. A green foggy landscape lies under a rolling sky of grey, bleached Iranian villages bask below a blazing blue canopy, an empty Dublin street sits under a stormy dusk. Ann Quinn’s skies are as rich and varied as the land beneath them.

‘Life’s Funny’ paintings by Catherine Barron is again a uniquely personal collection of work which will resonate with anyone who has a draw full of old family snaps we’ve meaning to go through. Catherine’s painstakingly executed paintings on degraded sheet metal in glossy enamel-like acrylic inks depict photographic images of her family and extended family, the once youthful aunties, the now grown up playmate cousins, the child and tricycle in front of a vaguely remembered front garden and the young versions of her parents squinting into the sun in their best clothes careful not to ruin the moment to be caught on precious kodak film.

The connection between these two parts of the exhibition is how both the artists endeavour to communicate their sense of belonging and their ‘place’, Ann Quinn in a physical space and Catherine Barron in a family history and time.

The exhibitions begin with a private view from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday 21st April and then the shows run from 22nd April to 28th May. Find out more on the Jack House Gallery website:

Sky's Windows by Ann Quinn

Life's Funny by Catherine Barron

PompeySaturdays/SouthseaSundays Photography Exhibition

PompeySaturdays/SouthseaSundays is a new photography exhibition designed to showcase all sides of Portsmouth. The exhibition will feature work by local photographer Andrew Malbon, from St Jude’s Church in Southsea, including two sets of his contemporary photos featuring some of the defining experiences of living in the city.

In the exhibition will be black-and-white photos showing ‘Pompey Saturdays’ which get to the heart of what it feels like to roll up at Fratton Park full of expectation on a match-day – and the emotions generated by the result. There will also be Andrew’s colour photos uncovering ‘Southsea Sundays’, that showcase the beauty and vitality of a sunny day on the seafront. Both contrasting sets of images will be on display (and for sale) at St Jude’s Church, Kent Road, Southsea, from 9am to 5pm each day from April 16th to April 30th. The two-week exhibition will be launched at an event from 7pm to 9pm on Saturday.

The exhibition will raise funds for a group of 18 adults and teenagers who are giving up 10 days of their holiday this summer to help decorate a school in Ghana. The group, who have called themselves ‘Project G’ come from Church of England churches across the city of Portsmouth. They’ll be heading off for a life-changing trip to Ghana in July, decorating a classroom for children who have special needs.

Andrew, who works as an architect for Portsmouth City Council said: “I’ve lived in Portsmouth since I was at university here, and I’m only a few hundred yards away from Fratton Park. You can see the expectation in the faces as the fans walk to the ground, and you can feel the elation or despair as they pour out again at the end. I wanted to capture that emotion. Portsmouth also has a fundamental relationship with the sea, which is best expressed for me in the colour, vitality and peacefulness of Southsea seafront. I’ve tried to capture some of the details that make the scenery come alive for me.”

Check the flyer below for more details and also some examples of Andrew’s great photography that will be on show in the exhibition.

PompeySaturdays/SouthseaSundays Photography Exhibition (3)

PompeySaturdays/SouthseaSundays Photography Exhibition (4)

PompeySaturdays/SouthseaSundays Photography Exhibition (5)

PompeySaturdays/SouthseaSundays Photography Exhibition (2)

Le Reve Art Exhibition at Atelier This Saturday

Le Reve is a new art exhibition featuring work by 14 local artists at Atelier in Castle Road. The exhibition Le Reve (The Dream) is named after the Picasso portrait of a sleeping lady 1932, which is a loose theme for the show which opens this Saturday from 10am to 6pm, whilst the street is all set up celebrating Record Store Day. On show are works by Agata Wojcieszkiewicz, Alison Lawley, Barbara Sullivan, Chris Wood, William Pounds, Colin Merrin, Trudy Barber, Roo Abrook, Karl Rudziak, Petting Zoo, Anna Potten, Michael Bartlett, Chris Williams & Pete Codling.

From Saturday the exhibition will be open weekends, during the week and by appointment in the evenings, be sure to drop in if you are Castle Road-bound for Record Store Day.

Le Reve Art Exhibition at Atelier This Saturday

Transitional Objects Exhibition by Immy Smith at Strong Island Co

We’re really pleased to say that our new exhibition up in Strong Island Co is by artist (and doctor) Immy Smith. Immy we featured on a special Created Local article a while back and she focuses on bringing science and art together. This exhibition is the first time her Transitional Objects drawings have been on show to the public.

“There is a constant recycling in all living systems; and in the process, life leaves debris. It gradually becomes unrecognisable, and perhaps disconnected from its origin. What if we try and translate the pieces left behind into new stories? Can we find comfort in building a new story from our own debris, before it is completely recycled? In psychology, a transitional object is an item used to provide emotional comfort, especially in unusual or unique situations, or at stressful times of transition.” – Immy Smith.

Immy Smith merges these ideas of brevity and security, change and consolation, to build new storylines from human litter and biological fragments. The drawings in the Transitional Objects series seek reassurance in the constant impermanence of life, and offer the idea of playing and creating new narratives. These original works are for sale and prints are also available too.

You are more than welcome to view the exhibition any time during the Strong Island Co opening hours (10am to 6pm, Tuesday to Saturday) and we are having a special artist party for Immy on Thursday 14th April, from 7pm to 9:30pm with free drinks and the chance to meet the artist and find out more about her many and varied artistic work. Check the Facebook event for more information HERE and you can find out more about Immy’s work at:

Transitional Objects Exhibition by Immy Smith at Strong Island Co

SNUB23 Polyhedron Exhibition at Play Dead Opens TONIGHT

Straight off of the back of a fantastic fine art exhibition by Sadie Tierney, Play Dead from tonight will be home to a brand new exhibition by Brighton street artist and designer SNUB23. You may recognise some of SNUB23’s work as he has painted in Southsea before but this new exhibition brings together the classic robot style and the Q-BERT style geometric patterns of colour, light and shadow. The exhibition opens tonight from 7pm and runs until 30th April.

If you get down for the opening the first 23 people through the door get a pile of treasure. If you miss that there are SNUB23 x Play Dead tees available too.

See you there tonight.

SNUB23 Polyhedron Exhibition at Play Dead Opens TONIGHT (2)

(All photos from Play Dead and SNUB23).

SNUB23 Polyhedron Exhibition at Play Dead Opens TONIGHT (1)

SNUB23 Polyhedron Exhibition at Play Dead Opens TONIGHT (3)

SNUB23 Polyhedron Exhibition at Play Dead Opens TONIGHT (4)

Last Chance to Catch Time & Tide at Play Dead

Sadie Tierney‘s solo exhibition Time & Tide at Play Dead finishes at the end of tomorrow so this is your chance to catch this great collection of locally inspired artwork. Between 12pm and 4pm tomorrow Sadie will be in Play Dead so if you want to catch up with the artist in person, pop along and say hello.

We interviewed Sadie when the exhibition opened, here are lots some more photos from the exhibition.

Edward King: A Life in Art – New Exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum

Portsmouth City Museum will be opening their new exhibition Edward King: A Life in Art this Friday (25th March), with displays of the city art collection’s many paintings plus other archived items and photographs from the painter’s Portsmouth period. Edward King originally studied art (and the violin) in Leipzig. On return to England, he focused painting, particularly in watercolour, with his illustrations began to appear in journals such as Punch and the Illustrated London News. By 1904 he had exhibited 54 paintings at the Royal Academy. Edward King is often considered to be amongst the most important British painters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with his work known and respected by both Whistler and an inspiration for Van Gogh.

King moved to South Harting near Petersfield in 1884 where he eventually married. Sadly in 1924 Edward’s wife Amelia died of consumption and the painter suffered a breakdown and was committed to St James Hospital in 1925, where he lived until he died of a stroke in 1951. During his time at the hospital, Edward King would draw & paint as an early form of art therapy. Over the years he became a familiar figure in the Milton area, painting scenes of houseboats by Milton Locks or the hospital farm. Many of these Milton paintings depict the area as it was, a rural, quiet & idilic corner of the then rapidly growing city.

Edward King became much more active locally after the Blitz, when Denis Daley the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth commissioned the painter to document the bomb damage to the city. King went out each day and painted a series of over 30 scenes that graphically show the war torn state of the city. Many of these paintings will be on display in this new exhibition.

As well as the exhibition Portsmouth City Museum will be running a series of events, workshops and other participation activities themed around the work of Edward King.

Don’t forget, admission is free for the museum and for this exhibition!

Edward King: A Life in Art - New Exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum

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Hidden Treasures

Steve Bomford gave us the heads up on this wonderful short film made up of old film footage, from the 50s to the 70s, filmed around Portsmouth and Southsea. If you like looking at some vintage Portsmouth and Southsea you will love this (really interesting to see the Guildhall before it was pedestrianised and the buildings were demolished for the council offices).

Rolling right Inuit part II

Following on from the previous post about the Igloo seen on Southsea Common, Khalid Saleh was kind enough to get in contact with some more information and some photos. It took Khalid and 6 of his friends 5 and a half hours to build the Igloo using what looks like icecream tubs and glow sticks were donated by passers by from the Navy.

It’s still standing today and Meridian will be doing a short interview with them. Not sure when that will air, but hopefully I’ll catch it.







It’s going to be a Strong Movember

Righto chaps, it’s time to clean shave your boat race and get that mighty moustache on the grow in support of Movember for The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. For 30 days of November you can help support and raise awareness through selflessly parading your top lip for charity.

You can sign up yourself, as I’m sure many of you already have, or you can join the Strong Island team and seek out sponsorship as a team. Through the Strong Island Movember page you can ask people to join the group, make donations, upload photos and post updates via the MoSpace page, Facebook and Twitter.

Head over to our MoSpace if you would like to get involved and grow a Strong Moustache to help raise awareness, or simply head over to and sign up to personally raise money.

The funds raised in the UK support the number one and two male specific cancers – prostate and testicular cancer. The funds raised are directed to programmes run directly by Movember and our men’s health partners, The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. Together, these channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programmes in line with our strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research.

Poster: Tristan Savage

Created Local – Marc B.B

Local Light Artist & Photographer Marc B.B sent over these incredible light images taken around Portsmouth. Specialising in Night Photography, Light Painting, Long Exposures and so on Marcs pictures are created at a time when most people would be packing away their cameras and heading home. Portsmouth has a strong creative vibe, especially in the photography realm and being part of a group called ‘Portsmouth At Night’, Marc regularly meets up with like minded folk to go on weekly excursions in and around the city to photograph it, in the dark.

“Whilst some may find it a little bizarre, i think the images speak for themselves. Turning everyday objects, landmarks, even benches into works of art of their own is both exciting and a challenge. Some of my best work has been in collaberation with others and being able to pool resources and ideas has always been invaluable to me. I am always striving to find parts of the city that can be shown in a ‘good light’ as Portsmouth is such a great place to live.”

Be sure to check out Marcs website for amazing photos, and if this style night photography interests you head over to Portsmouth at Night at They meet up as a group every week somewhere in Portsmouth and simply take advantage of the night. Everyone is welcome to join, at all levels of competency. Night, night.

Portsmouth on Film – Episode 3

The next episode of Jonathan & Matthew Ring’s vintage family footage ‘Portsmouth on Film’ went up recently. This episode is of a round Portsmouth car journey back in 1998.

Southsea Show 1970

Image: eBay

Created Local – Inksquatch

Here’s an interesting little blog I stumbled upon. Inksquatch are a collective of Portsmouth based artists, illustrators and designers that comprises of four people working on anything from books, maps, sculptures, bags, badges, you name it from the sound of things. Check out their BLOG and WEBSITE for more info.


Southsea Flats by Cat

Ben Schroeder Skating Southsea

Back in the 80s and early 90s Southsea would regularly be on the list of skateparks visited by American skaters as they toured the UK and Europe. Sometime around 1990ish the pool was built to replace the old reservoir at the end of the slalom and not long after American pro skater Ben Schroeder came through and (figuratively) destroyed the new bowl and the halfpipe, so much so that his frontside ollie transfer out of the bowl, over the platform and landing in the steep bank is legendary.

To cut a long story short Ben got in contact recently with some footage from the day. I’m going to go through the old skate magazine archives and hunt around for photos but for now, here is that footage. To find out more about Ben check out his Juice Magazine interview.


Created Local – Mikey Ayling

Good friend of Strong Island and many Southsea locals, Mikey is quite the talent. He’s always been into art, design, photography, fashion, skateboarding, music and well, let’s just say all the cool stuff. He recently began his second year in Graphic Design (Communication Design) at Portsmouth University and he’s killing it.

Matt Sills from the Wallspace Gallery has helped Mikey produce 3 prints, on sale now, of which the ants ‘Tower Block’ is a limited run of 100 Giclee print and the others, ‘Do You Dream’ and ‘Love Life’ are open edition screen prints.

Get down Albert Road and grab yourself one of Mikeys prints. Seriously, these are like hotcakes I’m sure of it. Oh, and pop past The Little Johnny Russells Market on your way and grab some bargains.




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Southsea Rock Gardens circa 1985

More random finds. It’s a shame to say I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Rock gardens looking this nice. Not sure how often upkeep fits into the Council agenda these days. Back in 1985 however it looks amazing. Click the photo for a bigger view.

Photo : Dom Walton

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