Ella Spira MBE, visual artist, Grammy-nominated composer and co-founder of theatre production company Sisters Grimm, presents a retrospective multimedia exhibition at Carnegie Hall in New York City
The Global Landscapes Retrospective exhibition will take place on March 28th 2023, for a Private View Launch and on March 29th 2023, for registered visitors.
The exhibition will feature The Inner Landscapes of Ella, a collaboration with Singaporean photographer Rebecca Toh, and the premiere of Ella’s new single and music video written and recorded in collaboration with a young New Yorker who will be selected via an open call
Ella Spira will be In Conversation with Alice Black, former director of London’s Design Museum and founder of ArtULTRA, for a special evening reception on 28 March 2023
With the Global Landscapes Retrospective exhibition, Ella will launch the Sisters Grimm Social Impact Fund
On Tuesday 28 March 2023, the Grammy-nominated British composer, visual artist and co-founder of theatre production company Sisters Grimm, Ella Spira MBE, will open the Global Landscapes Retrospective exhibition at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Terrace Room in New York City for a private view. The exhibition will give an extensive overview of her work as a visual artist, featuring paintings created in a range of locations, including South Africa, Brazil, the Gulf, Japan, Albania, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia and USA.
Throughout her career, Ella has foregrounded the importance of our natural environment, promoted cultural diversity and advocated for mental health. A drive for social inclusion is at the core of her artistic practice, which she has pursued through multicultural and multidisciplinary artistic collaborations.
The Global Landscapes Retrospective exhibition will be a comprehensive display of Ella Spira’s work, exhibiting together for the first-time paintings and drawings and music created over the last two decades. These artworks document the riches of our natural environment, from the biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest and the Atlantic Forest, to the arid landscapes of the UAE, and life underwater off the coasts of Australia and Hawaii.
Exclusive footage from Sisters Grimm shows and music videos will chart Ella’s ongoing commitment to social impact and cultural exchange. The exhibition will present video recordings of Ella’s extensive array of collaborative projects, including Ladysmith Black Mambazo with whom she created the award-winning INALA music score, and Egyptian singer songwriter DB Gad who co-wrote Daughters of the Wind with Ella.
Ella has often given young people a chance to join in her creative journey. As a tribute to her music teacher who encouraged her to pursue a music career when she was 14 years old, Ella is giving back to the next generation. The upcoming Global Landscapes Retrospective exhibition will showcase the debut of ‘Heart to Heart’, a captivating music video and song co-written with two talented mixed-heritage 17-year-olds. Ella discovered these young artists through an open call for all young people between the ages of 14 and 18 in New York State. Together, the trio has created a new, heartfelt song called ‘Heart to Heart’, and the accompanying music video captures their unique creative process and special bond.
Heart to Heart – Ella Spira, Julia Miranda & jdccappa
Heart to Heart is co-written by Ella Spira MBE and two 17-year-old New Yorkers, Julia Miranda and John Clarke jr. aka Jdccapa who were chosen after an extensive city-wide search for young talents early this year. The music video will feature at “Global Landscapes Retrospective” exhibition at Carnegie Hall Weill Terrace room on 29th March. To register for free tickets and for more information
The Inner Landscapes of Ella, a collaboration with Singaporean photographer Rebecca Toh, will provide a personal note in the exhibition. Toh’s photographic portraits lift the veil on Spira’s innermost self to reveal a genuine and unadorned woman, opening up a conversation about our relationship with our self-image, confidence and body positivity.
With the Global Landscapes Retrospective exhibition, Ella will be launching a Social Impact Fund to support the causes that she has advocated for throughout her career. All the artwork on display will be available for sale, with all proceeds going to the Sisters Grimm Social Impact Fund.
Ella Spira said “I am wholly committed to contributing to social change and 100% of proceeds from sales of the artworks presented at the Global Landscapes Retrospective will go into the Sisters Grimm Social Impact Fund to produce Art In Nature, INALA and Oceanography”
On 28 March at a special private event held within the exhibition, Ella will be interviewed by Alice Black, founder of ArtULTRA, about her influences, inspiration and intentions as an artist, in a comprehensive discussion about her career to date. She will unveil her ambitions for the Sisters Grimm Social Impact Fund.
Alice Black said “Ella is someone who lives in a near constant state of ebullient creativity. Ideas fuse in her head which she channels into music, images, live performances, or exhibitions. Today, people love immersive experiences and Ella’s shows pack a punch in delivering a multifaceted spectacle that captivates audiences.”
Global Landscapes includes paintings, music and videos by Ella Spira, MBE spanning the last twenty years. In each location that she visited in that period, Spira created paintings inspired by the surrounding environment, matched with a musical score to turn her work into a multi-sensory experience. Through these paintings, Spira sought to capture and share global landscapes and the human interventions within it.
To create her landscapes paintings, Ella has mainly used oil on canvas, although she has also enjoyed working on small-sized, quick sketches in charcoal. Her artworks have captured her immediate experience in a particular place, being immersed in an environment, recording the patterns of weather, light and architecture to make sense of her surroundings.
Sisters Grimm is a theatre production company founded by Ella Spira MBE and former Royal Ballet dancer Pietra De Mello-Pittman MBE in 2009, with the mission to produce work that is relevant, driven by social impact, cultural exchange, collaboration, equality, diversity, inclusion and environmental awareness.
Sisters Grimm has become renowned for shows that offer a unique and vibrant immersive experience, powered by an explosive fusion of live music, song, and dance. They have travelled the world, working with collaborators such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo in South Africa, world-renowned percussionist band Olodum in Brazil and Samurai warriors in Japan to tell new culturally themed and socially relevant stories.
Sisters Grimm actively encourage ethnic and economic diversity on stage as well as in their audience. To date, 8,000 young people from diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds have benefited from social impact and outreach programmes, ranging from ticket offers, workshops and insights into creative careers.
In 2019, when INALA relaunched in the West End, Royal Albert Hall, Prince Harry’s Concert at Hampton Court Palace, Marina Bay Sands Singapore and China Tour, Sisters Grimm partnered with the Prince’s Trust to provide students enrichment opportunities at INALA in the West End and at the Royal Albert Hall on Black History Month and World Ballet Day.
That same year, Sisters Grimm were invited to Yale University, by World Fellow Nizam Uddin, to talk about the “Power of Creative Theatre to Humanise”.
In 2021, on World Wildlife Day, ‘Art in Nature Global – tackling Climate Change’ was launched. The music video ‘Windows of the Mind” featuring the art submissions from over 1,000 school children under 18 years old has been seen by 3.5 million people worldwide.
Recognized as internationalists, the pair were awarded an MBE in 2021 by His Royal Highness King Charles III at Windsor Castle, for Services to International Trade and the Creative Industries. Spira and Mello-Pittman were honoured for a lifetime dedication to spotlighting and celebrating different cultures through art of the highest calibre and fostering cross-cultural understanding.
Ella Spira Full Biography
Ella Spira, MBE is a Grammy nominated British composer, painter and theatre producer. She was born and raised in Gloucester, England, and comes from a long line of artists. Her grandfather, Emile Spira was a pianist and composer and both Ella’s parents are visual artists. Ella’s mother is a landscape painter whose work has been exhibited in the West of England Royal Academy and her father is an abstract artist and university Senior Lecturer.
Deeply influenced by her Jewish heritage and family history as a third generation Holocaust survivor, Ella has dedicated her life to celebrating and foregrounding underrepresented cultures.
Ella Spira’s multidisciplinary approach regularly features innovative multicultural collaborations, spotlighting and celebrating different cultures.
At 16, Ella started writing music for short films. Her professional career within the entertainment industry began when, aged 17, she chose to leave school in favour of employment at the BBC. Ella has worked with companies ranging from The Royal Ballet, BAFTA, BBC, Arakan Creative, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Ministry of Sound, UNICEF NYE Campaign, Hi5 and Universal Music. Ella has worked on pop chart remixes with Steve Smart & Westfunk, Bruno Mars’ ‘Just The Way You Are’, McFly’s ‘Shine A Light’, Jay Sean’s (ft Nicki Minaj) ‘2012’, Alicia Dixon’s (ft Jay Sean) ‘Every Little Part Of Me’ and Nelly’s ‘Just A Dream’, on labels including Universal. All five of these reached the top 20 in the UK charts.
Ella Spira’s work includes award-winning, world-touring live musical theatre productions, winning popular and critical acclaim around the world. These shows have been featured at London’s Royal Variety Performance, Hampton Court Palace and Royal Albert Hall and performed in front of the Royal Family. Ella has also co-composed and produced world music videos which have been enjoyed by millions on YouTube. Altogether, Ella has composed music which has a global reach of 200 million.
In 2017, ‘Voices of the Amazon‘ narrated by Jeremy Irons won Brazilian international Press Award Best Show.
In 2016 she received a Best World Music Album Grammy nomination for the songs from Sisters Grimm show ‘INALA’. These songs also provided the soundtrack to Prince Harry’s Sentebale 2019 Annual film.
ArtULTRA is a digital platform and gallery which champions contemporary artists with a view to create a more diverse and vibrant art world. ArtULTRA provides curatorial services, commissions artworks on behalf of clients and works with artists to enable them to become more resilient and enjoy sustainable careers.
Founded by Alice Black, former director of the Design Museum, London, is an Ambassador for the Mayor of London’ Cultural Leadership Board, a Governor of the Museum of London and a member of the British Library Advisory Council.