Exhibition | Lucy Sparrow: Shoplifting

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From cans of Coca Cola, rashers of bacon and packets of Jacob’s crackers to bottles of Moët & Chandon champagne alongside lobster.

Though it may seem like a list of local supermarket items, you have been mistaken.

What is being described is in fact the Lawrence Atkin Galleries latest exhibition – Shoplifting, by artist Lucy Sparrow.

An image from Lucy Sparrow's shoplifting exhibition in at the Lawrence Atkin Gallery including felt made of spam

Lucy Sparrow’s Shoplifting Spam and Brillo display

Setting foot inside the deceptively spacious gallery, set across two floors, its white open-plan layout immediately draws you to the first piece of art: a shopping trolley.

Filled with Stella Artois beer, Smirnoff vodka and Aptamil baby powder, amongst other household favourites, it first appears as if Lucy is taking us through her weekly shopping list at a local supermarket – but she is not.

Inspired by the theme larceny, Shoplifting presents the UK’s most shoplifted items from supermarkets and the types of people who might steal them – presented in art form.

Delivered in a comical and witty manner – all items within the exhibition are handcrafted using materials such as felt, acrylic and thread.

Throughout her display – the self-described ‘natural stitcher’ invites her audience to explore.

The first floor, unlike the second, will take you through a variety of familiar household items, some of them which you may, ironically, find in your own kitchen cupboards at home.

From cans of Heinz soup to Cadbury’s milk chocolate, the theme of shoplifting echoes throughout this exhibition as you will fight the temptation to touch and possibly steal from the displays yourself.

Completing your experience on the first floor – a felt covered staircase will enhance your curiosity further and lead you to the ground floor.

Unlike the first – this space offers an intimate setting within the Shoplifting exhibition area.

Inviting her audience to view individual and personal cabinets, each follows a theme giving you a better idea of the types of people who steal certain items.

While some of the cabinets feature more simplistic items and products such as biscuits, eyelashes and viagra pills, all made from felt and acrylic, others do not.

An image from Lucy Sparrow's shoplifting exhibition in at the Lawrence Atkin Gallery including felt made bag

For Richer For Poorer features a Chanel clutch bag

One of these, labelled For Richer For Poorer, confronts the issues of stereotypes and stealing.

A small black Chanel clutch bag accompanied by a bag of white drugs, made to look like cocaine, emphasises the fact that it is not just everyday, cheaper items that are shoplifted.

More expensive items can also be stolen – especially by those who have deeper issues than just needing to eat.

Lucy Sparrow’s Shoplifting offers a non-judgemental and unique take on an issue which “exists to prove that this is even more common than most people imagine”.




Lucy Sparrow’s exhibition Shoplifting runs from 4-29 November at the Lawrence Alkin Gallery on New Compton Street, London.

Featured images taken by Nike Akintokun

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Nike Akintokun is a forward thinking, final year Journalism undergraduate at the University of the Arts: London College of Communication (LCC)
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