I am Eraste Muaka, the founder of ArtViaYou, an online art platform that emerged in January 2020. Our mission was simple: to provide a space for artists to showcase and sell their work, while offering them a more favourable commission structure than what the current market offers. As we approached our first anniversary, we decided to mark the occasion by launching our inaugural exhibition in December 2020.

My personal journey has played a significant role in shaping ArtViaYou.

Having launched this business while serving a prison sentence in 2019, I was driven by a deep desire to support young artists who, like me, found themselves in challenging circumstances.

I wanted to create opportunities for them to have their art seen, appreciated, and supported through exhibitions, galleries, and online platforms.

Reflecting on my own experiences, I realised that access to initiatives like ArtViaYou during my youth could have steered me away from the troubles I encountered. Painting has been a part of my life since the age of 15, and my passion for art has been instrumental in my personal growth.

ArtViaYou Exhibition 'Embracing Culture: Right & Wrong'

Now, I am dedicated to ensuring that talented individuals, especially young kids, understand the myriad possibilities available to them and avoid the same mistakes I made.

We actively engage with various communities, collaborate with students, partner with charities, and even recruit apprentices from schools.

ArtViaYou strives to bridge the gap and shine a spotlight on cultures that are often marginalised in the art world.

Numerous galleries offer limited representation for young urban artists in today's market, and we aim to challenge this status quo through our online platform and exhibitions.

I believe that I can represent a culture that is often unseen in galleries and exhibitions. ArtViaYou showcases the work of diverse young artists, including painters, designers, sculptors, photographers, illustrators, and many more.

'Yesterday Future' © Damilola Ajegbomogun

We have expanded globally, representing artists from all around the world and bringing their artwork to the UK for exhibition.

We have come a long way from our first exhibition and are now celebrating our fifth, our most extensive exhibition yet, titled 'Embracing Culture: Right and Wrong.'

This three-month-long showcase invites you to embark on a journey that explores the complexities of culture, challenges conventional notions of right and wrong, and celebrates the unique paths artists have traversed throughout their lives.

'Game of Brain' © Olalekan Odunburi

Within this exhibition, you will encounter the captivating stories of artists who have grown up in London but have taken vastly different routes to reach a space where they can genuinely express themselves through their artwork. While they share a foundation rooted in ethical principles, their individual journeys have shaped them into distinct creators with their own artistic voices. Through their art, you will witness a remarkable diversity of perspectives, techniques, and themes born from their personal experiences.

This exhibition serves as an invitation to contemplate the intricacies of life, the choices we make, and the paths we navigate. It testifies to the transformative power of art, which transcends boundaries, challenges preconceptions, and provides a platform for authentic self-expression. Each artist's work becomes a visual narrative, showcasing their growth, explorations, and artistic evolution.

We eagerly anticipate the future of ArtViaYou in the art world and are committed to continuing our mission of empowering artists and amplifying their voices. Join us on this incredible journey and let us redefine what art can mean to us all.

'Embracing Culture: Right & Wrong' is exhibiting now until 17th September at Social Convention, 2 Caxton Street North, Canning Town, E16 1XJ. For more info check out the ArtViaYou website here and for further updates follow @artviayou

'By Their Fruit' © Kenan Peter