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Marathon kebab house to stage pizza box art show

Artist said empty property owners shunned his idea for a pop-up gallery - so he asked famous Chalk Farm take-away to use their walls

17 November, 2017 — By Helen Chapman

Artwork by Oliver Malin

ONE of London’s most famous kebab shops is to be used as an art gallery for an artist who paints portraits of passers-by on pizza boxes.

Oliver Malin, 31, has been given space in the Marathon Kebab House in Chalk Farm Road, Chalk Farm, after being unable to find anywhere else to display his collection, Take-Away Dreams.

He had asked estate agents in the West End for the chance to create pop-up galleries in empty buildings but was rebuffed on each occasion. “The Marathon’s benevolence is to my benefit,” Mr Malin told the New Journal. “They were really supportive. Take Away Dreams is now coming to a takeaway shop – a place where anyone is welcome and my paintings will be seen by just about anyone.”

Diners at the kebab house – once a favourite haunt of singer Amy Winehouse – will now get the chance to see Mr Malin’s art on the walls next month. Mr Malin said: “There are more and more empty shops yet landlords are just looking for long-term tenants. Gallery spaces and pop-up venues are unaffordable. I have spent many late nights in takeaway shops myself. It is where people congregate now, especially as more and more pubs are closing down.”

Artist Oliver Malin with Sevket in the Marathon Kebab House

The artist said he used pizza boxes as his canvas because he wanted to “connect the subject with the subject matter in a context in which people exist.” He paints people he sees on the streets, the tube or shops in London and around Kilburn, where he is from.

He said his work is about “chronicling real-life people who represent something familiar and current. These are regular people with interesting expressions, either comfortably sleeping or lost in their own thoughts.”

His previous work features portraits on crushed beer cans as part of a project called We Are Disposable in 2011.

The paintings will go on display at the Marathon Kebab House on December 13 and 14.

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