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Barking gallery owner nominated for 'making London great' in Hidden Credits award

PUBLISHED: 14:00 29 April 2019

Gallery director and artist, Laura Iosifescu, shows off some of the work people have produced for one of her gallery's exhibitions. Picture: KEN MEARS

Gallery director and artist, Laura Iosifescu, shows off some of the work people have produced for one of her gallery's exhibitions. Picture: KEN MEARS

Archant

A woman who went from living on the streets to running her own gallery has been listed as one of London's 100 extraordinary women.

Laura Iosifescu, of Abbey Road, Barking, was added to the Hidden Credits Instagram project set up by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to promote the contributions women make to the capital.

Laura said: “I just felt so proud. I didn't expect it. I'm very passionate about Barking. I love this borough.”

A delighted Laura, who runs the Laura I Gallery in IceHouse Court, Barking, was nominated by the borough's mayor, Sanchia Alasia, who she helped raise £4,000 in an art auction last December.

No stranger to success, Laura won the council's empowerment award last year as well as a community gong from the Federation of Small Businesses.

Besides running the gallery, opened by Sadiq Khan two years ago, Laura develops art projects which aim to bring people of different backgrounds together. She also mentors people.

“I try to curate and design things that help people feel loved, wanted, special and included,” she said.

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The last exhibition was called 'I am a Woman and this is my Legacy' which was aimed at recognising modern women artists and the difference they make.

An artist herself, Laura was one of the first to move into IceHouse Court, a set of studios backed by the organisation, Bow Arts.

Describing her work as 'unconventional', Laura turned heads with a dress which acted as a canvas in her colourful piece entitled 'Blossom Escape'.

Laura, explaining her work, said: “I love to think my work is alive and has a soul. That can only be portrayed if the work is off the canvas.”

But the Romanian national, who graduated from the University of East London with a fine art degree in 2012, had to build herself up from humble beginnings.

“I was living on the streets when I first moved to London. I've experienced all the challenges you can think of whether poverty or violence.

“I went through it and escaped it,” Laura said.

And her love of the borough shines through.

“There are so many opportunities here. It's important no one is left behind and that's where I would like to come in,” she said.

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