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Hennessy & gal-dem launch The Very Special Fund for emerging artists

In celebration of the launch of Hennessy’s new Limited Edition Very Special bottle, gal-dem and the Hennessy team hosted a digital cocktail evening for women in the Arts to launch a new fund for emerging artists.

27 Oct 2020

In celebration of the launch of Hennessy Very Special, a new Limited Edition bottle designed by Faith XLVII, gal-dem and the Hennessy team hosted a digital cocktail evening for womxn in the arts to launch a new fund for emerging artists.

Held over Zoom because, well, pandemic, the evening opened with Hennessy and ginger ale (their new flagship combination) as guests from fashion and music joined to open discussion on the arts, allyship, and what young women could do together to change the industry. Featuring a host of familiar faces from within the creative world, notable names such as DJ Siobhan Bell and model and journalist Simran Randhawa joined to help us celebrate.

The virtual cocktail evening was hosted by gal-dem’s culture editor, Kemi Alemoru, and featured a panel that included Faith XLVII, a multidisciplinary artist from South Africa and designer of this year’s Hennessy Very Special bottle, and Mattie Loyce, an LA-based curator and cultural producer. Covering topics such as social change and activism in the context of the art world, the event was a chance for creatives to come together and discuss the best ways to uplift one another, as well as the next generation.

On the topic of allyship, Mattie explained that it was key for those who are distinguished within their career to think about how they can uphold those that are more marginalised than themselves and to “make sure you share the wealth”. It was this same spirit of generosity and “doing your part” that Faith XLVII felt was key in bringing around real change, stating “the whole system and how its run makes us feel that we can’t make a difference on a large scale, but if everybody tries to do something within their sphere, that creates a mass collective wave. We have to see ourselves as part of a bigger picture”.

Relating more specifically to what allyship looks like within the art world, Faith explained that one of the important ways to uplift others “on a personal level” is through the use of one on one mentorship with a younger artist, as this is key to upholding the next generation. Providing other examples of how artists can be allies, Faith commented: “What I’ve seen this year, that has been really moving is how many artists have been doing what they can within the realm of their work, whether its a print sale or raising funds for groups which are close to their heart”. Even gestures such as hearing about a job and passing it on to other womxn is a simple but effective example that Faith gives as a way to empower each other.

After the panel discussion, to honour the new limited edition bottle, Hennessy and gal-dem announced the launch of a new collaboration: the Very Special fund. Aimed specifically at helping emerging artists early in their careers, the program works by supporting the artists of tomorrow. The fund, of which gal-dem will shortlist applicants before the winners are chosen by Faith XLVII, will provide five artists with support for their creative practise. 

Attendees then joined the discussion, delving into everything from how lockdown has impacted the industry, to mastering one of the most popular, modern art forms –  the thirst trap (Nadine Artois, your tips were impeccable, but we still can’t quite nail it the way you can). It was a night of honesty, introspection and camaraderie. The excitement to see what will happen next and where the next generation will lead us was palpable.