Exhibition Visits, General, Inspire

Secret 7 Exhibition and Gallery Visit | Evie Sanger-Davies

13th March 2024 Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Earlier this year, I came across a post on Instagram advertising a competition titled ‘Secret 7’. In it, it described the opportunity to have your artwork featured on a 7-inch vinyl single, that will be auctioned online for charity. As someone who enjoys collecting vinyl records and listens to music constantly whilst working, I was really excited to enter this competition for a chance to be featured in the Secret 7 Exhibition. Little did I know how far I’d get with it…

The PV for the secret 7 exhibition

About Secret 7

The Secret 7 competition is run by the charity War Child, an independent non-government organisation. War Child is a specialist charity, set up in 1993 to aid children affected by conflict. They aim to reach children as early as possible in places of conflict and continue to support them long-term. They deliver life-changing services and support communities to keep children safe and continue to provide an education, for a chance of a better future.

The concept of Secret 7 is actually quite simple. 7 well-known and upcoming musicians donate 1 musical track that will be pressed onto a 7-inch vinyl 100 times. Then, artists are encouraged to enter artworks and designs that will be used to house these records, making each one a one-of-a-kind art piece. All 700 records then get auctioned, with 100% of the proceeds going directly to War Child. All entries then exhibited at the Secret 7 Exhibition, during the time of the auction. The catch is that you don’t know which track you’re getting or who created the cover until you’ve won the auction.

 

This year, the tracks were:

Secret 7 Exhibition

‘A Different Kind of Human’ by AURORA

‘Can’t Stop This Flame’ by Celeste

‘Skipping Like a Stone’ by The Chemical Brothers ft Beck

‘Swan Upon Leda’ by Hozier

‘Pipes of Peace’ by Paul McCartney

‘Lullaby’ by Siouxie and the Banshees

‘We Sell Hope’ by The Specials

 

The Results

I had been sketching the ideas for a few months, but I had forgotten about the competition until a notification popped up saying ‘Last day to enter!’. Frantically, I finished and submitted one design for Hozier’s Swan Upon Leda (one of my favourite artists) only a few hours before entries closed. 2 months passed, and I hadn’t heard anything, so I assumed I was unsuccessful.

Then, on February 21st, I got an email, cryptically titled ‘Your Artwork Submission for Hozier… Are you in?’. Nervously, I read through the email to discover I was one of the artists selected for Secret 7’s exhibition! My work would become a record cover for one of my favourite artists! I never dreamed that my last-minute entry would be on display with world-renowned artists such as Sir Paul Smith, Morag Myerscough, Tacita Dean and Anthony Burrill. As an exhibiting artist, I was invited down to the Private View on the 7th of March, where I could meet other artists and see the exhibition.

 

The Secret 7 Exhibition

The sign in front of the Secret 7 Exhibition

On the train down to the Secret 7 exhibition, I got chatting with a lovely couple of ladies about the exhibition and my involvement, which was overheard by a gentleman in the aisle opposite. He said that he had worked with The Chemical Brothers in the past, so he knew a bit about the event and was hoping to see the exhibition. He then asked for my artist number (used in the auction) and placed a bid on my artwork. Only later, when my dad and I sat down in a cafe, we searched for him on the internet to find he was the manager of The Chemical Brothers, and has been for nearly 30 years!

Hosted at NOW Gallery, the exhibition featured all 700 entries, with pieces created in a wide range of media, from watercolour to pencil, digital artworks and photography. There was even a large felt mask, a wooden diorama and a huge rock with a carved slit for the record. These were displayed on huge custom-built shelves that spanned the entire gallery. The competition was open worldwide, so I had the chance to meet many incredible artists from around the globe. I even met a lovely artist who had travelled from Mexico to see the show!

My dad and I in front of my entry at the exhibition.

A selection of the covers on show at the Secret 7 Exhibition.

The Secret 7 exhibition is open until the 17th of March at NOW Gallery London. You can also view all the entries online here. If you’d like to check out the auction and place a bid to support War Child, you can do so via the Peggy app. To find out more, head to the Secret 7 website.

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