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La Serre welcomes fresh and inspirational talent to the Boulangerie and since the launch of the ‘Aspiring Artists Initiative’ last September, the diverse schedule has given aspiring and emerging artists a platform to showcase their art on the boulangerie walls.

The first artist to exhibit as part of the programme was French born, Savannah Quercy, a contemporary and expressional young artist, living and working in Dubai.

We interviewed Jessica Watson-Thorp, the second artist to exhibit as part of the Aspiring Artists Initiative. Jessica is an independent artist and full time mother living in Dubai. Formally trained in Fine Art, Jessica has also spent time studying in Africa.

Jessica at La Serre with 'Liberation' art work

Jessica, it’s been an incredible 3 months having your art on the walls of the Boulangerie. How was your experience being a part of the Aspiring Artists Initiative at La Serre?

Just fantastic! The wonderful thing about La Serre is that every time you go there it’s very personal, a truly individual experience and my art fits right in with this philosophy. You will not see anything generic or ‘chain made’ here. Everything is unique. The team have been amazing to work with, always professional and extremely supportive of putting artists ‘out there’ into the Dubai scene, through art on the walls, press, social media and word of mouth.

It was lovely to always see you here enjoying our food with your art. How did it feel to see your work on our walls?

It’s wonderful to see your own work being enjoyed and appreciated by people who love the finer things in life. Connoisseurs of food are usually connoisseurs of art and so it was amazing to have my work on display at La Serre. The light here is amazing due to the huge glass panes and all of the dishes and displays are artistically put together. It’s been a fabulous melding of creativity.

Which of your art pieces do you feel represents the boulangerie the most?

Most definitely ‘Havaani’s Butterfly’ which hung in a prime location right near the window and could be seen from street level. This is a huge fresh piece bursting with life and colour. It is energetically busy in it’s composition and yet beautifully elegant, just like the Boulangerie itself. I had so many comments and enquiries from the public about this painting and it made me extremely happy to see it speaking to people and generating a conversation.

La Serre serves as an art gallery to many Dubai artists

What has been the highlight of your time at La Serre?

Every day was a highlight and brought something new, from training the staff on the techniques involved and the thought and meaning behind each piece, to the buzzing ‘Press Breakfast’ with Dubai’s media. From speaking on Dubai Eye about my involvement in the Aspiring Artists Initiative to the quiet coffees I managed to enjoy with some of the wonderful La Serre team.

Has having your art at La Serre had an influence on your career as an Artist in Dubai?

Definitely. La Serre has helped to get my name ‘out there’ in the Dubai scene and this cannot be underestimated. You never know what opportunities will come of having your work in such a prominent position as Downtown Dubai. When people are talking about it, things happen!

Which is your favourite piece of art from the collection showcased at La Serre?

‘Liberation’ and ‘Havaani’s Butterfly’ are my two favourites. Liberation is a huge work that depicts a woman flipping and diving with abandon through the Dubai Fountains. It is abstract in nature and extremely colourful. It speaks of women regaining their freedom and celebrating this feeling.

We also have your ‘Bubbles’ collection upstairs in the Bistro. How does it feel to share the walls of the Bistro with some very famous Middle Eastern artists?

It’s fantastic to see my work displayed in the gorgeous fine dining area of the Bistro. I love the eclectic mix of work from a range of highly talented artists which adds to the ambiance of the place. I myself love to dine there, for the fare and to be surrounded by wonderful art.

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What’s next for Jessica Watson-Thorp?

London, New York and Dubai! I have many things in the pipeline! I’ve recently signed with a New York City Gallery on Manhattan Island and I am very much looking forward to working with them. I also have my Dragonfly ink works going to a small Gallery in London who want to represent me.

In Dubai over the coming months I will be working as ‘Artist in Residence’ at Horizon School where I will be painting a huge mural of a lush magical garden with the Year Six students as part of their leaving legacy.

I will also be showcasing my Middle Eastern inspired works at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding in the Al Fahidi District and their Jumeirah Mosque site. Here we aim to promote cross cultural exchange and dialogue between western countries and the Arab world and break down barriers. As a resident in the Gulf for over 12 years this is something I am very passionate about so I am very much looking forward to this.

Have you been working on new art?

I certainly have been busy in the Studio of late. I am continuing my work on the ‘Love Letters Series’ which speak about connection and separation while commenting on the dying art of letter writing. I am also working on a series of Butterfly paintings, one of which is a commission for someone here in Dubai.

How can people follow your work?

Very easily. I am on instagram jwtjessicawatsonthorp and you can follow what’s going on in the Studio on Facebook at JWT Jessica Watson-Thorp . If you’d like to receive my biannual Newsletters and invitations to my Dubai exhibitions please subscribe to my website www.jessicawatsonthorp.com . It’s that simple!

Thank you Jessica, it has been an absolute pleasure to have you and your art at La Serre

Big thanks to La Serre and all of the dedicated and talented people who make it the amazing place that it is. It has been a truly wonderful experience being a part of the Aspiring Artists Initiative and I can’t wait to work together again in the future.

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Jessica Watson-Thorp’s exhibition at La Serre has now ended.

Artists who would like the opportunity to showcase their work in the Boulangerie at La Serre, should contact fgray@laserre.ae for the chance to exhibit.

The Boulangerie opens daily for breakfast from 6:30am through to lunch and dinner, closing at 10:30pm.