The Communitea Shop sells tea-themed prints by 55 stellar creatives to raise funds for the London Chinese Community Centre
Melissa Kitty Jarram, Charlotte Mei, Wei Prior, Marylou Faure, Thomas Hedger, Kyle Platts, Jack Sachs, Alva Skog, Jimmy Turrell, Yarza Twins and Zipeng Zhu are just some of those involved in this mega project.
- Jenny Brewer
- 6 May 2021
A huge team of brilliant creative people have come together to create The Communitea Shop, an online store of tea-themed illustration and graphic design prints to raise funds for the London Chinese Community Centre, which faces the threat of permanent closure. Featuring 55 creatives including many, many recognisable names, the initiative chose the theme of tea due to its importance in all cultures, pertinently Chinese culture, and how it encourages people to come together, chat and learn more about one another – much-needed now with the spike in anti-Asian hate crime. “Only through empathetic cultural discourse like this can we stop the spread of racism and xenophobia,” says the team.
Artworks have been created and donated by illustrators, designers and artists from 14 countries, Asian creatives amidst international allies. These include Melissa Kitty Jarram, Ed Cheverton, Charlotte Mei, Wei Prior, Cabeza Patata, Cachetejack, Marylou Faure, Thomas Hedger, Hato, Kyle Platts, Jack Sachs, Alva Skog, Sam Taylor, Jimmy Turrell, Rob Flowers, Omse, Yarza Twins and Zipeng Zhu, among many others.
Kenn Lam, who is part of the team which organised the sale and also contributed artwork, says that the recent rise in anti-Asian hate “moved me into creating artwork in solidarity”. This, in turn, led him to think “how absurd it was to believe that the onus for change lies solely in the hands of those suffering from the status quo”, and saw him reach out to his circle of creative friends in London to see what we could do for the community. And so began the Communitea project.
The contributing creatives were invited to take the tea theme as a starting point, to make work that conveyed “unity, welcome, cultural rituals, connection, appreciation, and respect”, the team explains to It’s Nice That, and depicted their personal connection with or appreciation of Asian culture. Jack Sachs, for example, contributed a still from his short film Soft Life shot and animated while he was living in Hong Kong. “This time that I spent in Hong Kong and the people that I met had a huge impact on the work that I make, my world view and my whole self. The film is a testament to that and a love letter to a place that means a lot to me,” he says.
Bo Xu’s piece is inspired by traditional Chinese chrysanthemum tea, which in Chinese herb culture is used for dispelling heat and detoxifying. “As the vicious hate against the Asian community continues, people should sit down and have a cup of chrysanthemum tea, cool down the internal heat and have a clear mind.”
Alva Skog’s piece is a celebration of Manga comics, something they say has “shaped my work immensely”; while Thomas Hedger’s artwork features the iconic fortune cookie, which he says “holds particular significance through the memories of meals shared together with friends”.
Communitea launches today in partnership with Roomfifty. Prints start at £20. There is also a single Communitea Bag on sale for £45,000 – enough to reach the LCCC's JustGiving fundraiser goal and see them through the rest of 2021.
The “Communiteam” includes Kenn Lam, Andreas Hansson, Benjamin Chan, Thomas Hedger, Conrad Haddaway, Inga Ziemele, Lawrence Scanlon, Liza Gusarova, Malone Chen, and Sherwin Teo.
The full list of artists is as follows: Sam Ailey, Ralph Akhigbe, Biff, Famida Begum, Butt Studio, Cabeza Patata, Cachetejack, Cha, Ed Cheverton, Muhammad Fatchurofi, Marylou Faure, Rob Flowers, Steven Fritters, Yuk Fun, Viktor Hachmang, Conrad Haddaway, Andreas Hansson, Hato, Thomas Hedger, Jinhwa Jang, Melissa Kitty Jarram, Loulou João, Kenn Lam, Geo Law, Sam Leung, Helen Li, Lunatic, Bárbara Malagoli, Charlene Man, Maïté Marque, Charlotte Mei, Joseph Melhuish, Murugiah, Yolande Mutale, Shian Ng, Simone Noronha, Omse, Darius Ou, Christine Peters, Kyle Platts, Debbie Poon, Wei Prior, Dominique Ramsey, Danielle Rhoda, Jack Sachs, Lawrence Scanlon, Alva Skog, Sam Taylor, Sherwin Teo, Jimmy Turrell, Twomuch.Studio, Bo Xu, Yarza Twins, Zipeng Zhu, Inga Ziemele.
GalleryThe Communitea Shop
Thomas Hedger for Communitea fundraiser (Copyright © Thomas Hedger, 2021)