Finchley Central Art Space

A new art exhibition has been launched to showcase artistic talent in Barnet.

The Finchley Central Art Space is a partnership between Barnet Council, BKL and Middlesex University. BKL, Chartered Accountants and Tax Advisers, are hosting the Art Space in their lobby at 35 Ballards Lane near Finchley Central Tube station.

The space will be used by Middlesex University students and alumni to display artworks made to question, interpret and express aspects that remain hidden from the everyday.

The first exhibition features illustrations and photography from Vian Tang and Josie Sweeney as well as models from Middlesex Architecture department. Among their themes are identity, gender expression and city life. The Art Space will run throughout 2023 & 2024 with the artworks changing periodically.

BKL’s glass-fronted, ground-floor lobby, and its location at the heart of Finchley Central, will enable residents, local workers and other visitors to enjoy the artwork as they pass by.

The Art Space will form part of the new Finchley Central Open Gallery. This broader project by Barnet Council, in partnership with the local community and businesses, will use outdoor walls to present a changing array of prints and murals from the local creative community. It aims to enhance life in Finchley for local residents and workers while also encouraging visitors. It will also support Barnet’s bid to become London’s 2027 Borough of Culture.

Rebecca Jackson, Impact Project Manager at BKL, said: “As a business that’s been based in Finchley for over 30 years, we’re very pleased to be hosting the Finchley Central Art Space. By making artwork by Middlesex University’s talented students and graduates more accessible, we hope that local people and visitors will enjoy seeing the diversity of the area reflected.”

Jack Tims, Head of Middlesex University’s career service MDXworks, said: “The collaboration not only breathes life into the community through distinctive artwork but equally celebrates Finchley’s rich cultural diversity. The partnership with BKL and Barnet Council has afforded Middlesex students with an exciting opportunity to gain exposure through public displays. Already this has led to commissions and employment opportunities, highlighting the value of creative talent in the workforce.

“Finchley Central’s Open Gallery exemplifies the potential of cooperation and artistic expression, setting a promising path for future collaborations between local businesses, the council and the university.”

A Barnet Council spokesperson said: “We are delighted to partner with BKL and Middlesex University to bring art to Finchley Central and support local artists. The council is committed to working with local stakeholders to continue revitalising the town centre. We hope this Art Space will not only offer a unique experience to visitors, but also contribute significantly to the council’s commitment to transforming public space at the heart of Finchley Central.”

More on the artists below:

The Construction of Gender, Josie Sweeney

I am a photography graduate from Middlesex University, where my main focus over the past year has been portraiture.

I want my work to have and showcase a meaning, so this series focuses on showing the performance and construction of gender. My practice explores the merging of lines between the two and explores non-conforming gender using a gender-neutral persona.

I have explored this by photographing portraits with distinct traditional stereotypes of gender-specific clothing. The masculine and feminine clothing alongside emotions allows the gender fluidity within both subjects to be shown as well as through the performed acts of the stereotypes male and female.

The idea of gender is evolving in the 21st century; this modern concept allows for a new generation to reconstruct their own perception of what gender is. My work encourages a diverse perspective on traditional stereotypes and considers a contemporary relationship with gender.


Instagram: jsweeneyphotography

Title: In the city by “Vian Tang”

Vian is an illustrator from Hong Kong who is now based in London. She studied Illustration BA at Middlesex University. She enjoys storytelling in her illustrations while exploring different traditional and digital tools. She likes animate, stationary, and also takes inspiration from animals in her work.

‘In the City’ is a story about a man trying to find his moment of peace inside a crowded city. Tang explains ‘The story is based on my living experience in my hometown, and I hope everyone can find their own chilled and peaceful moments in life.’

My social media:

Instagram: vian_illustration_

Portfolio website: