Over 50 local artists feature in new exhibition

Plus: The city school giving back to its community.

A poster from Two Queens called 'flock' which shows a woman looking at the viewer
Artwork from 'Flock'. Photograph: Two Queens.

In Focus

New exhibition: 'Flock' launches ahead of community ownership drive

by Jess Bourne

Two Queens, an artist-run gallery and studios, are currently hosting an exhibition, named ‘flock’, and featuring the work of over 50 local artists from Leicester and the surrounding areas.  

‘Flock’ has bought together a range of eclectic pieces of work, and some of the most notable are a mirror covered in Barbie dolls and a bird’s eye view drawing of Leicester, using felt tips. It also is featuring various paintings, sculptures, drawings and installations.  

This exhibition is an annual members’ show, and this year it is marking its 11th anniversary.  

Daniel Kelly, the fundraising and development officer, said: “All the people who work there are artists and it’s a chance for us to show our work as well which we don’t get to do the rest of the year.  

“I enjoy seeing what everyone’s been working on over the past year, and having the chance to present what our community does. Quite often when people come to Two Queens, they see the gallery and they see a show by one artist, but they don’t necessarily realise that there’s 45 artists working in the studios, so it’s nice to show people what happens here.” 

One of the pieces in the exhibition was created by Mita Solanky, who uses an artist alias, Saintly Amok. Their piece of artwork, named ‘Time and Tide’, was created using Japanese wood block prints and was made during a state of meditation. It follows the grain of the wood, which is then printed using what she carved out.  

Talking about the show, Mita said: “It’s quite a clean show. It’s laid out in quite a structured way, which is kind of unusual for this space. I’m used to seeing shows which are more looser and more ambiguous. 

“Because it’s a kind of open exhibition, and open to all, it needs to be able to display all the works in the space and I guess for that you need some kind of a structure to pour it all into.” 

Two Queens strives for freedoms of artistic expression and strongly believes that art brings meanings to people’s lives, while also serving a therapeutic purpose for individual wellbeing.  

But recently, they are under threat of losing the facilities due to their lease expiring in early 2025. Therefore, they are preparing to launch a community share offer, which will put the building into community ownership and will raise the funds needed to buy Two Queens and secure the gallery space.  

Community shares give those that invest a voice, and they can have an opinion about how the facilities should be run. This will then make them a community-owned gallery in Leicester.  

Two Queens has already received funding of over £9,000 from the Co-operatives UK’s Community Shares Booster Fund, which is in place to provide support to new and existing community businesses.   

Talking about community shares, Daniel said: “We roughly need to raise just under half a million pounds to buy the building and all the sort of legal costs that come with that.” They will be aiming to raise this money through a combination of grant funding and through the community shares.  

“Community shares is kind of like crowdfunding, except people get their money back in the future and they can earn interest on the money that they put in.”  

Not only would the closing down of Two Queens affect the aspiring artists, but it would also have a knock-on effect on the people who find enjoyment in the arts.  

Rosa Fernandez was at the show on opening night and said: “It’s a real shame. Art spaces are really important and it’s really important that we just engage with the arts generally. We all go out and use art for our own needs. 

Rosa said: “It’s important that there are spaces where people can be making art, and if there aren’t, then everybody’s sad because it’s no good for the artists because they’ve got nowhere to do stuff and it’s no good for us because we haven’t got stuff we can enjoy.” 

The ‘Flock’ exhibition is open until Saturday, 13 July.  

Weather Forecast

by Phil Morrish

⛅️ Monday: A mainly dry day with some early sunshine and cloudy in the afternoon. Feeling milder at 19C with moderate wind.

🌧️ Tuesday-Friday: Some heavy rain on Tuesday and then heavy showers on Wednesday and Thursday. Potential heavy and thundery showers with temperatures peaking at just 19C. Drier on Friday with only a few showers.

⛅️ Weekend: Mainly dry with some sunny intervals and temperatures up to 21C and a light breeze!

In the News

by Emma Guy

The city school giving back to its community: Students at Millgate School have been giving back to their community through initiatives including litter picking and care home visits. One of the aims of the initiative was to develop pupil confidence and allow them to interact in social situations out in the wider world - BBC Leicester

Leicester lose appeal against Premier League PSR charge: An independent commission has rejected Leicester's appeal against the Premier League's Profit and Sustainability charge. The commission has ruled the top flight can punish the Foxes for an alleged breach for the three seasons leading up to 2022-23 after they were charged in March. Leicester are appealing against the latest ruling - BBC Sport

Why Labour lost Leicester East: Voters make their views clear: A Leicester Mercury reporter asked residents in Leicester East on their thoughts on the election results and why they thought led to the swing. Conservative MP Shivani Raja won with a majority of just over 4,000 after 10 different candidates stood for the seat - Leicester Mercury

'This is for people of Gaza': Shockat Adam takes Labour's Jonathan Ashworth's Leicester South seat: Independent candidate, Shockat Adam, won Leicester South on election night by less than 1,000 votes. Labour lost some key figures amid residents anger on the parties handling of politics amidst the Gaza-conflict. Labour MP Jonathan Ashworth, formerly held the seat - Sky News

Row over council's plans for new museum cafe: Controversy over plans for a new cafe at Leicester's flagship museum, as it is dubbed a waste of money by opposition politicians. A six-strong group of Green, Liberal Democrat and Conservative councillors have launched a move to halt the scheme, calling it "unnessesary." The council said the move would generate rental income from a cafe operator - BBC Leicester

Three men in court charged with burglary after woman found dead at property: The woman’s body was found in a property in Radiant Road, Thurncourt, on Thursday morning, according to Leicestershire Police. They appeared at Leicester Magistrates’ Court on Saturday and were remanded into custody ahead of their next hearing at Leicester Crown Court on Friday, 19 August - Evening Standard

SEND transport consultation to take place after the election: The city council has confirmed that the consultation should begin in September this year. Funding had been due to end in July this year, following a consultation that took place two years ago. Some parents had raised concerns about the consultation process and said they were not made aware of the proposals at the time - Leicester City Council

Liz Kendall becomes secretary of state for work and pensions: - Following her win in Leicester West on election night, alongside Labour's landslide victory, Kendall has become the new secretary of state for work and pensions. At the latest election she received 15,798 votes, beating the second-place Conservative candidate Max Chauhan, who achieved less than half that, with just over 7,000 votes - Leicester Mercury

Neighbourhood resurfacing works to take place: Leicester City Council will be carrying out a package of work totalling £380,000 across the city for the duration of July. All four schemes will require road closures in both directions, with parking restrictions and localised diversions in place. In total, they will represent repairs to almost 10,000 square metres (9,955 sq m) of the city’s road network - Leicester City Council

Fact check: flawed online poll falsely predicts results of Leicester election: A recent investigation highlighted a website claiming to be a “locally focused polling organisation” which ran the risk of spreading inaccurate and flawed predictions on who would win in Leicester's three constituencies, ahead of the election. The group behind the website claims they have been polling local people in Leicester since 2016, but have since “decided to digitally publish our polls” - Great Central Gazette

Fact check: flawed online poll falsely predicts results of Leicester election
Voters are being warned that misinformation online could affect their vote.

Photo of the Week

The Turkey Cafe, Leicester.
The Turkey Cafe is an iconic fixture. Photograph: Historic England / Instagram

Who doesn't love Art Nouveau and a good story? The Turkey Cafe opened in 1901 and soon became an important place for women in the city. As a popular meeting place, women from across the city would gather here to discuss the progress of women's rights. It became so popular that it was eventually expanded into the building next door.

Got a photo? Send it to news@greatcentralgazette.org to feature in this newsletter.

What's On

by Leah Everquill

🚨 – Last chance
💷 – Entry fee
🆓 – Free of charge

💷 Space Lates - July – 12 July 2024

Head over to the National Space Centre for an educational day all about space rocks. Expect talks, workshops, demonstrations, and more! Tickets cost £8.

🆓 Roman Leicester Family Day – 13 July 2024

Pop down to LCB Depot for a brilliant historical day all about the Romans. There’ll be plenty of free, creative fun for the whole family. Runs from 12pm to 4pm.

🚨 💷 The Newarke: Talk and Guided Walk – 13 July 2024

If you’d like to learn more about Newarke Houses, The Newarke and Castle Gardens, join in on this fascinating talk and walk. Runs from 2pm onwards. Tickets cost £6.

🚨 💷 A Chorus Line – Now until 13 July 2024

Head to Curve Theatre for a dazzling musical performance of A Chorus Line. Tickets from £10. Matinee and evening performance available.

🆓 LIGHTWERK – Now until 25 August 2024

Are you a fan of graffiti? Visit the Phoenix for a colourful, interactive exhibition of graffiti art.

🆓 Snakes – Now until 1 September 2024

Slither over to Leicester Museum & Art Gallery for a fantastic, free, family-friendly exhibition all about snakes. Ssssssensational!

On the Market

by Mark Pearson

A three bedroom semi-detached family home is newly available within walking distance of the General Hospital. It has a spacious kitchen area and three large bedrooms. At the rear there is a conservatory next to a large paved area and a lawned garden with two timber outbuildings.

Price: £330,000

Greenacre Drive, Evington.Leicester, 3 bedroom, Semi-Detached
Three bedroom semi detached family home located within walking distance to Leicester General Hospital, ideally suited to families looking for a…

Food and Drink

by Rhys Everquill

The banner of Dhil's Eats - an all vegan takeaway.
Dhil's Eats is based in Wigston. Screenshot: Dhils Eats / Great Central Gazette

Dhil's Eats is an all-vegan takeaway based in Wigston, but delivers across Leicester and Leicestershire. Their boneless 'chick'n' boxes have an incredible amount of seasoning and the flavour leaves you wanting more. Highly recommend the butter chick'n box with seasoned fries.

Price: £6.35 

Sports Highlights

by Emma Guy

Men's football: Leicester City have signed teenage midfielder Michael Golding from Chelsea for about £4m. The 18-year-old, who can play in a number of midfield roles, has agreed a long-term contract. Read more

Women's rugby: Leicester Tigers head of women’s rugby Vicky Macqueen is to leave at the end of the season. The 44-year-old former England international has played a key part in establishing Tigers in their first season in Premiership Women’s Rugby. Read more

Men's basketball: Leicester Riders announce the departure of managing director Russell Levenston. Russell is moving on to pursue new opportunities, after 17 years with the club. Riders wish to thank Russell for his great service to the Ccub, which covered a period of very significant developments off the court, and exceptional success on the court. Read more


by Megan Lupton

The road to universal suffrage in Leicester
A short walk through the history of representative democracy in Leicester.

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