Protein have just launched their London gallery space with the exhibition 'Two Soups And A Honeybun', by acclaimed visual artist and musician Justin 'Kutmah' McNulty.
Having masterminded a host of pop-up installations and events in the past, Protein have now moved into a three storey warehouse space on 18 Hewett Street in London which is all set to host a plethora of different exhibitions, gigs, forums and workshops in the future as well as a retail space and supper clubs.
'Two Soups And A Honeybun' is Kutmah's debut exhibition, a solo show of drawings completed in 2010 whilst detained in a United States Prison.
Kutmah was born in the UK and moved to the US when he was 12-years old, but without warning nor any provoking criminal activity, on 5th May 2010, seven armed federal agents entered his house, handcuffed and detained him. With no calls allowed to family or lawyers, Kutmah was brought to a facility in downtown LA where he was interrogated regarding immigration issues.
On 7th May he was flown to a New Mexico prison where he was locked down until his release on the 29th of June. Kutmah was deported to the UK where he currently resides, and cannot legally re-enter the United States.
Whilst detained under conditions akin to a federal prison - one hour of daylight allowed per day, lights on at 4am - Kutmah sought solace in art, drawing to keep sane with only a short pencil and ID card.
"These birds were free and that's what I wanted. If I wasn't able to spend all my days drawing I am not sure how I would have made it". says Kutmah of his experience.
The 37 drawings created during his imprisonment ordeal are being presented thanks to a collaboration between Protein, VTech, screen print crew Hit+Run, plus music and art label Earnest Endeavours.
The show launched on Wednesday accompanied by an afterparty in Hoxton where the Earnest Endeavours boys rolled out a setlist of Kutmah, Jams F. Kennedy, Teebs, Dorian Concept and Patchwork Pirates. Hit+Run even took over a room with their multi printing machine, allowing partygoers to customise their own tees from a choice of five prints for free on the night.
The exhibition runs until the 13th of February 2011.
Photography Teddy Fitzhugh.