By Charlie Morgan
An ecletic art hub has found refuge in Hackney Wick after being forced out of its Islington premises.
Hajni Semsei, 38, and Nimrod Vardi, 31, who founded Arbeit – a company which provides space for artists – were evicted from their property in Bunhill in favour of a large commercial art gallery, despite spending £8,000 of their own money on the venture.
Ms Semsei said: “It was easy to get rid of us. The gallery promised the landlord they would invest £100,000 in the building. How can you stand up to that?”
Ms Semsei – who works part-time as a commercial lawyer to fund the project – insisted Arbeit was “moving on and learning from our struggle”, but that the drawn-out conflict was “an emotional time”.
She said: “It takes six months to establish yourself as an art space and for people to get to know you.”
But Arbeit’s new Hackney site on White Post Lane – a 3,000 square foot area featuring a large gallery alongside several smaller individual studios – is finally ready to house clients.
Ms Semsei said: “Our opening earlier this month was the start of a series of exhibitions that will take place every three months.
“In April, we are holding a discussion on pop-ups. We also want to give pragmatic advice about finding office space, both from our own experiences and with the help of other speakers.”
Ms Semsei has already held meetings with casting agencies and comic book producers eager to take advantage of Arbeit.
“We will soon be busy with creative business people,” she added. “The quality of the building is great.