Ivy Panesar: Londoner and Australian Artist
Ivy Panesar, an Australian born Londoner, is currently celebrating her first major exhibition at The Stone Space, Leytonstone.
Adelaide born Ivy Panesar grew up in the south of Adelaide, South Australia and spent two years in Sydney. Many people will know Panesar from her first creative incarnation as a pop singer where she performed under the name, Aleesha Rome, and sang the hit singles "Search My Heaven" and "One of Us Has Changed".
After signing up with Albert Productions/ EMI records in 1998, Panesar released a self-titled album, which was later released in Germany & Canada. Upon reaching London to promote the record in Europe, she found the journey opened up new opportunities and, despite having achieved fame and success at a very young age, was ready to escape Australia. "Everything about having a record, and being an artist, wasn't what I had expected. The reality of my producers's demands, people calling out to me in the street.....I felt very under pressure. I had been writing songs from when I was 17 years old but I was tied into the studio songs. Sydney had run its course for me."
The anonymity of London enabled Panesar to explore a new direction. She performed with a number of Indie bands and eventually set up her band, Ivy York Band, with a collaborative partner and now husband, Ravi Panesar. The rejuvenation of the singer-songwriter resulted in one her most exciting albums, 'The Call of Spring', which is a country-pop and Bollywood fusion. Panesar says of London, "I like feeling like I am part of the world. Everywhere you go there is always an exhibition or a show. The culture is amazing here."
Panesar sees herself very much as a Londoner. "My favourite place is Soho. It makes me feel like I am among my own, and at home with creative people. Everyone has their own thing going on and London attracts all different types of people. Everyone is cool in their own way. It works. In London, anything can happen."
Panesar, who trained as an opera singer, lost her singing voice to laryngeal dystonia around 7 years ago. "It was a bit of a kick but stuff happens. I was faced with the choice of moving on, or feeling sorry for myself. I chose to move on." says Panesar. "It was hard writing songs and not being able to sing them so I returned to an early love, painting."
Panesar is celebrating her first major exhibition with 'Counterpoint' at The Stone Space Gallery in Leytonstone. "Getting a show ready is very much like preparing for an album launch" laughs Panesar. "I worked with another artist, Phillipa Day, who I teamed up with at the suggestion of the gallery, and it worked beautifully. I am really proud of it."
Panesar is very much a creative person. She designs objects, paints and still contributes to the music industry by hosting a number of music events across East London. It's exciting to think about where her next creative endeavour will materialise but it's also comforting to know that painting is very much at the centre of her thinking. Inspired by street art and abstract expressionism, her works have a vibrant wild quality to them and they work in delightful balance with the much quieter and still works of Phillipa Day.
Counterpoint runs at The Stone Space, Church Lane, Leytonstone from May 4-28, Thursday-Sunday. Entrance is free.