English Tea Party. . . gone wrong

Art Life , Exhibitions Oct 17, 2014 No Comments

From Sharne Wolff

Just sitting down to read the newspaper with a nice relaxing cuppa? Ever wondered why Sukey took the kettle off and they all went away? The Urban Dictionary defines tea as ‘a drug stereotypically popular in England . . . sold in brightly coloured boxes advertising its health properties . . . highly addictive’. It seems artist Tanmaya Bingham agrees. Her English Tea Party. . . gone wrong has the subtitle, An installation about the drug of choice in the UK . . .TEA.


Born in the US, Bingham studied in Australia and since her last exhibition with Brenda May, spent time travelling in the UK. In this show she directly references her experiences dealing with “pompous, passive-aggressive, pasty-white-zombies” in London who if, she says, are given an annoying accent and some tea become  “junkies in an apocalyptic nightmare set in the late 18th century.” To illustrate her point, Bingham (who also boasts some English heritage) has constructed an elaborate theatrical installation that imagines this raucous ritual – crumbling scones and all. Accompanying the fallout from this apparently debauched affair are a wonderful series of detailed graphite drawings and multiple pieces of found English chinaware covered with cheeky drawings. During a time of strict political correctness, Bingham’s cutting satire makes for a refreshing take. Following a visit to Germany, plans for her next show with the working title Bavarian Sausage Fest, are underway.

Until November 1
Brenda May Gallery, Waterloo
Pic: Tanmaya Bingham English Tea Party. . . gone wrong 2014 [Installation image]. Courtesy the artist and Brenda May Gallery.

All Tanmaya Bingham quotes are drawn from Welch, Olivia. “My good opinion once lost, is lost forever…” A conversation with Tanmaya Bingham. Unpublished interview, 2014.

Sharne Wolff

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.