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2024 Exhibitions:


Don't eat the Pomegranate? | 1-18 May

Sevenoaks Kaleidoscope Art Gallery | Buckhurst Lane, Sevenoaks, TN13 1LQ


Here in the UK we have been celebrating the signs of Spring, the natural world reawakening after winter. Throughout the globe there are seasonal changes which guide us through time. These changes are a great inspiration for artists and many myths, legends and tales explain the eternal cycles of Nature's death and rebirth.

One such myth is the story of Persephone and Hades, represented in Michael Hempstead’s paintings and which is the theme of his talk on Saturday 11th May. The significance of the pomegranate is that by eating six pomegranate seeds Persephone was destined to spend 6 months with Hades in the Underworld and 6 months in the Upper Earth so her father divided the year into 2 parts: Dark Winter and Radiant Summer.
We pose the question “Don’t eat the Pomegranate?” to invite you to consider how would you feel without these contrasts?

Established in 1952, the Free Painters and Sculptors (FPS) is an artist-led organisation that promotes and exhibits an international and diverse membership of Artists. Through our connections with Sevenoaks Visual Arts Forum we are excited to exhibit in the purpose built space, Sevenoaks Kaleidoscope Art Gallery. A deep thoughtfulness and playfulness converge in the exhibited works as the members connect and express their response to the theme of Spring and Nature.

With over 70 years of experience, FPS aligns with the ethos of Sevenoaks Visual Arts Forum, helping artists build long term networks that develop artistic sustainability, exposure and sales, whilst also encouraging artists to create work on their own terms, leading to a vibrant, diverse and “free” exhibition.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of talks, demonstrations and workshops.

Open 1-18 May

The Kent County Council Sevenoaks Kaleidoscope Art Gallery is run as an artist led space by Sevenoaks Visual Arts Forum (SVAF).

A contemporary exhibition space, it showcases new and experimental work from local, established and emerging artists. SVAF also actively promotes and engages with artists’ collaboration projects and formulate interactive community and school projects in the Gallery. The program is diverse and raises the profile of art in West Kent.

Entry to the Gallery is free. It is located upstairs in a public building that combines a Library, Museum and Gallery. Lift access.

Opening Hours: Monday 10 – 6pm; Tuesday – Friday 10 – 5pm; Saturday 10 – 4pm; Closed Sunday and all Bank holidays.

Pay and Display Parking on site

FPS Don't eat the Pomegranate? exhibition poster

Featured artists: 

Victoria Atkinson • Rosalind Barker • Nicholas Cheeseman • Joanna Ciechanowska • Louisa Crispin • Veronica van Eijk • Marek Emczek Olszewski • Leila Godden • Alexandra Harley • Michael Hempstead • Richard Heys • Maria Kaleta • Solange Keschmann • Malgorzata Lapsa- Malawska • Owen Legg • Rod McIntosh • Alex McIntyre • Peter Murry • Bettina Reiber • Bina Shah • Helen Twigge-Molecey • Sally Ward • Adam Zoltowski

Don't eat the Pomegranate?

Talks, Demonstrations and Workshops

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Wednesday 1st May    5pm (for 5.15pm start) - 5.45pm 

Rod McIntosh Sitting group (informal meditation)

We invite you to come and experience the power of sitting with others in silence in a welcoming and supportive environment. During this session, Rod will hold space and is able to offer gentle guidance as to how to approach meditation, that he finds helpful and uses in his paintings. A moment midweek to press pause and calm your mind in a creative space surrounded by the artwork of the Free Painters and Sculptors Exhibition, “Don’t Eat the Pomegranate?” as a backdrop and inspiration. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced meditator, our group is open to everyone. Embrace the chance to connect with like-minded individuals and foster a sense of community. This will take place in the Sevenoaks Kaleidoscope Art Gallery, which will be closed to the public during this session.

Information and booking

Helen example of small Fungi.jpeg

Wednesday 1st May   6 - 8pm

SVAF Members Meeting (open to the public)

A brief introduction to the Exhibition & FPS group followed by short artist talks by FPS members
Helen Twigge-Molecey, Solange Keschmann, Rod McIntosh, and Veronica van Eijk.

All welcome, booking not required. Refreshments provided.


The talks take place during the monthly meeting for the Sevenoaks Visual Arts Forum and will begin around 6.30pm.

(image: Helen Twigge-Molecey)

Victoria Atkinson Mati 1.JPG

Saturday 4 May 11am - 3pm

Private View

An opportunity to visit the exhibition and meet the artists.

Refreshments will be provided.

(image: Victoria Atkinson)

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Thursday 9th May    1.30 - 3.30pm

Rod McIntosh Mindfulness and Ink Painting Workshop

Through the practice of mindfulness with a brush and ink, you will learn to focus your attention, observe your thoughts, and connect with the present moment. This workshop offers a unique opportunity to combine mindfulness and creativity, allowing you to tap into flow state and express your artistic side. No prior experience is necessary, and all materials will be provided. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist, this workshop is open to everyone who is interested in exploring the benefits of mindfulness and ink painting. Don't miss out on this wonderful opportunity to relax, learn, and create.

The workshop will take place in the Mezzanine area at the Sevenoaks Kaleidoscope Art Gallery.

Information and booking

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Saturday 11 May    11am - 1pm

Louisa Crispin In Residence - Drawing Insects

From the Studio to the Field: hints and tips for Drawing Insects as I develop my studio practice into a language of immediacy, working outside and relinquishing control to the elements: lying quietly in a sunny meadow, responding to the sounds of nature, surrendering to the moment.

Drop in session, no booking required.

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Saturday 11th May    2 - 3pm

Michael Hempstead Talk and Drawing session for children and their families

A short talk for children and their families by Michael about his painting “The Metamorphosis of Persephone” and the myth which inspired it, encouraging them to spot all the hidden elements in the picture which relate to Spring and Nature. This will be followed by an opportunity for the children to draw their own pictures with paper and crayons provided.

The talk will take place in the Sevenoaks Kaleidoscope Art Gallery followed by drawing in the mezzanine area just outside the gallery.

Please note that children must be accompanied by an adult. Booking not essential.

Information and booking

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Saturday 18th May    11 - 1pm

Bina Shah In Residence - Demonstrating handmade tools and inks

Bina will be demonstrating how she uses her hand carved Black Bamboo mark making tools and her home brewed oak gall and walnut inks with an opportunity for you to try them out yourself with her guidance.

She will be happy to explain how to take care of the tools and is offering a 10% discount on the bamboo pens via her website for the duration of the exhibition and until 25 May (code FPS10).

Drop in session, no booking required.

Solange Wave circle.jpg

Throughout the exhibition

Solange Keschmann

The inspiration for her work: “THE WAVE” came from the sentences Alessandro Baricco wrote 1993 in his book “Ocean Mare”:

“To listen to life is the same as to listen to the waves of the sea. The waves rise... grow... change things... Then, it all returns as before… but it is not the same thing again...”

With the clear line of “THE WAVE”, she awakens in us without bias the emotion, the nostalgia and revival a wave evokes.


Visitors are invited to respond to Solange’s sculpture “The Wave” - take a few moments of thoughtfulness and note your response to it. Responses will be reviewed towards the end of the exhibition.

Don't eat the Pomegranate?

An abridged version of THE MYTH OF PERSEPHONE

The vast island of Sicily had been piled on top of the body and limbs of a giant. He struggled and spat out ashes and flames. This was the volcano Etna. The Earth trembled.


Hades, Ruler of the dark Kingdom of The Dead in The Underworld, feared the Earth would split open and let in daylight. He drove up to The Upper World in his chariot to check the foundations of his Kingdom. He made all secure.


Cupid saw him and shot a love-arrow into his heart.


In a wooded glade nearby Persephone, daughter of Demeter, Goddess of The Earth, was picking flowers. Hades saw her, fell in love with her, and kidnapped her in his chariot. Persephone called out to her mother, but to no avail. Hades drove them down into The Underworld.


Demeter was distraught at the loss of her daughter. She looked for her everywhere. Not finding her, she cursed Sicily. Nothing grew there. There was no food.


Demeter demanded of Zeus, King of the Gods, that her daughter be returned to her, once she had learned that Persephone was Hades’s captive in The Underworld. Zeus was Persephone's father.


Zeus said Persephone could return from The Underworld on one condition:- that she had not eaten anything there. "This is the decree of The Fates" he said. Persephone had eaten six pomegranate seeds. Zeus said, "Because of this I divide the year into two parts :- Dark Winter and Radiant Summer."


So for six months Persephone returns to her Mother in the Upper Earth and there is Summer Sunshine, as they are happy together; then, for six months she returns to The Underworld, The Kingdom of Death, Hades's Realm, and it is Winter in the Upper Earth, as Demeter mourns for her lost daughter.


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