Exhibition updates

Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2019

Broken Egg by Michael Hedge

Caroline Kenyon, Founder of the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year, discusses the unifying power of food photography in troubled times.

Food is full of contradictions. Of course, we need it to survive, but it can also hold greater meaning whether it be political, religious, aspirational or symbolic. It offers a portal into the rituals, celebrations and struggles of others. Food tells stories about the way we live.

From the communal and the spiritual to the political and the commercial, it’s all here at the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2019. For Caroline Kenyon, Founder of the Awards, it is the unifying power of food that is most important. "We all know we are living in a fractious, angry world at the moment, when public discourse is aggressive and divisive, seeking to set groups of people against each other," says Kenyon. "These awards set their face against that divisiveness and this year, we have shown that to a degree that makes me so proud.”

'Cauldron Noodles' by Jianhui Liao, Winner of the Food for Celebration Category

The idea to create the awards first came to Kenyon some eight years ago in the middle of the night, though it was a culmination of experiences which led to that point: “It was the coming together of years of a love for photography, editing a travel magazine, photographer’s portfolio, running a PR agency specialising in food, commissioning food photographers and my son, then aged 12, becoming passionate about photography.” She was particularly inspired by a visit to Wildlife Photographer of the Year, which presented a model of how such an exhibition might work, “in terms of scale, range and subject matter.”

'Always Have A Camera In My Hands' by Lily-Mae Franklin, Winner of the Young 15-17-year-olds Category

Kenyon ascertains that diversity amongst the judges is crucial to achieving such a balance. “I always look for a real range of experience, from top chefs who produce their own cookery books to creative directors, food retailers, people who are embroiled with food and photography on a daily basis.” This year’s panel, chaired by food photographer David Loftus, includes Claire Hyman, British Photography – The Hyman Collection, culinary superstar Alice Waters, Lucy Pike, Head of Pictures at WeTransfer, His Excellency Ali Bin Thalith and Secretary General, HIPA.

'Bonda Tribe' by Sanghamitra Sarkar (India), Winner of the Food for the Family Category

With over 9,000 images entered from 77 countries, the judges had a huge pool of talent to choose from and the result is a truly multicultural show. Walking through the gallery one can take a trip across the world, stumbling upon a lunar celebration in China, a Bangladeshi woman collecting water or a tribal family in India preparing food in a clay pot. "Wherever we live, whoever we are, rich or poor, urban or rural, powerful or powerless," says Kenyon, "we are united by food, by the need to eat, by food as community, as celebration. These pictures show that as an inescapable, powerful truth – ultimately, we are all the same."

'Harvesting Gold' by Kazi Mushfiq, Winner of Bring Home the Harvest Category

Find out more about the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year here


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A Taste of the New English Art Club's Upcoming Annual Exhibition

With the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year exhibition launching this week (1 to 5 May) and the New England Art Club’s Annual Exhibition right around the corner (14 to 22 June), we felt it fitting to bring the two together by compiling a selection of gastronomical works from the upcoming NEAC show.

There are fewer elements of human life more deeply embedded in the fabric of society than food. And so examining the ways different cultures use it offers a unique glimpse into the ritualistic nature of communities around the world. A central tenet of human survival, the gastronomic has been a constant presence throughout the canon of art history, from Vermeer's milkmaid and Van Gogh's potato eaters to Andy Warhol's soup cans. Now to enjoy this selection of food-related paintings from the New English Art Club.

Small Blue Plums’ by Diana Calvert NEAC: Oil, 30 x 41 cm – £575


'Quince' by Pamela Kay NEAC, RBA: Oil, 23 x 28 cm – £1,850


'Dining Table with French Lamp' by Susan Ryder RP NEAC: Oil, 69 x 94 cm – £4,800


'Papaya and Limes' by Felicity House PS: Oil, 36 x 38 cm – £850


'Still Life' by Daniel Shadbolt NEAC: Oil, 69 x 79 cm – £900


'Pomegranate Tree' by Charlotte Sorapure NEAC: Oil, 48 x 34 cm – £1,800

Discover the New English Art Club Annual Exhibition - available to browse and buy now


Image credit

Pamela Kay Quince (detail)

Estelle Lovatt FRSA: 'Art Expert' in Residence

Estelle Lovatt - RI Exhibition

Artist and art critic Estelle Lovatt FRSA shares her thoughts on the instinctive nature of watercolours.

Being 'Art Expert in Residence' at the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI) 207th Exhibition was wonderful. I was there to talk about the watercolours, share market insights and answer questions on all things art. I met such interesting people, from gallery visitors to the exhibiting artists, whom I heard gallery-goers praise and describe their skilled artwork “incredible…innovative… haunting…beautiful…stunning…astonishing…expressive…great quality.” Many congratulations to the incredible prize winners, and indeed all the magnificent artists.

I enjoy the capriciousness of watercolour.  From how it is shaped as much by the wetness of the medium and the way that weighty, broad washes, relax into the furrows of the paper (often without much control!), to how tiny, subtle, brushstrokes build up layers of transparent effects, adding 3D volume and depth of perspective.

Watercolour has a life of its own, its magical luminosity and instinctive freedom rapidly seizing an impression, reminds me of a quote by Pablo Picasso who said, “There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun.” And on the cold bleak London day I was there, the jewel-like colours – Prussian blue beside Indian yellow, carmine and burnt sienna by Hooker's green, Payne’s grey and emerald – felt especially gorgeous.

Estelle Lovatt at the Royal Insitute of Water Colours 207th Exhibition

The beginnings of the RI dates back to 1807 and it continues to promote watercolour today. His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, has written the foreword of RI: Then and Now, a coffee-table book accompanying the exhibition, which traces the history of the institute. Prince Charles himself had two landscapes exhibited; he favours watercolour for painting ‘en plein air’, outdoor studies, of landscapes and forests of trees, rooted in the scrutiny of nature, since water scenes fit the clear flowing characteristics of the medium.

I was also lucky to eavesdrop on some free events as part of the exhibition including Jean Noble RI hosting portfolio reviews, Robin Hazelwood RI giving an exhibition tour and Rosa Sepple PRI talking to visitors.

Elli Koumousi, Head of Education and Cultural Strategy at Mall Galleries said staff thought of me as their “in-house art therapist.” Someone I was chatting to called me the “Art Doctor”. I won’t forget observing pictorial effects with one gallery-goer who looked at me surprised after I explained how I use salt and clingfilm to apply added texture when I paint. Anything goes in the medium loved by some of the greatest British artists from traditional masters including J.M.W Turner and William Blake to contemporary giants Anish Kapoor and Tracey Emin.

Estelle Lovatt FRSA

Work from the Royal Insitute of Water Colours 207th Exhibition is available to view online.


'Art Expert in Residence' Estelle Lovatt FRSA on Pastels

Goodman-Sheila-Avon Meadows

Artist and art critic Estelle Lovatt FRSA shares her thoughts on pastels, and the peculiar exercise of appreciating art.

My second day as Mall Galleries ‘Art Expert in Residence’ was at the Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2019.  It was a great privilege to be there, talking to gallery visitors about all things art, and looking at the superb pastels, which were of a very high standard.

Visitors asked me questions, some in whispers, others boldly requesting art world information at decibels that enabled those nearby to listen in. Whatever questions popped into people's heads, they asked. Titbits of advice were required in answer to questions like how can I sell my work? How much should I sell it for? What framing is best? Are there rules about mounts? Should pastels be behind glass? What type of glass?

Someone asked me simply to talk about a pastel they admired from the exhibition, and we discussed how art doesn't demand to be understood to be appreciated. You don't need expertise to understand art, to do it, or to experience it. When I listen to birdsong I don't know its meaning, but I enjoy it very much.

Just as important as knowing what you like is knowing what you dislike. We talked about the subjective versus the objective in art. We talked about rejection, and how the Impressionists, Fauvists and Cubists were initially rejected and considered madmen, before becoming much-loved favourites.

The love of art and ideas, emotions, feelings and imagination is what it’s all about. It was inspiring to hear pastel enthusiasts talk about their love for the medium and their struggles with their art: 'how can we make whites whiter and at the same time have more colour?' 'Can our greens be as wide-ranging as Constable?'

We nattered about what sort of paper to use, whether to use fixative, and how fixative might darken as it seals the pigment (so use a good quality fixative). This led on to talks about becoming friends with staff at a good art shop. The famous pastel artist Edgar Degas made an appearance; we discussed how he might apply a layer of paint to his card, for the pastel to grip it another way, or apply pastel to tracing paper. I directed one visitor to the National Gallery across the road to examine the Degas there.

I talked about good mixing techniques, like hatching and crosshatching, to ensure colours stay light and unified. I also encouraged visitors not to worry too much about technique. My motto is 'if you can dust you can draw!' Drawing is all about moving your hand, wrist and arm, up and down and side to side.  And, hey, you’re making marks, and marks equal drawing.

So until we meet again, I’d like to thank everyone for their ideas and questions. Happy drawing! My next event in the gallery will be on 10 and 11 April from 12 noon to 1.30pm. This is during the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 207th Exhibition.

Estelle Lovatt FRSA

Image credit

Sheila Goodman PS, Avon Meadows

Emerging Artists in The Pastel Society Exhibition 2019

Of the 60 guest artists selected from the Call for Entries to exhibit work at The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2019, several are new faces at Mall Galleries, and some have never shown their work publicly in the UK or elsewhere before. Many of these first-time exhibitors have gone on to win prestigious prizes at the Exhibition, and here they share their experiences of submitting and exhibiting.

Andrea Santi, winner of the Alfred Teddy Smith & Zsuzsi Roboz Award

21-year-old Italian artist Andrea Santi won the £5,000 Alfred Teddy Smith & Zsuzsi Roboz Award for a pencil drawing of her mother in The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2019. It's Andrea's first exhibition at Mall Galleries, and we've devoted a whole article to her here

Mum by Andrea Santi: Graphite, 35 x 33 cm - £1,100

Sophie Amauger, winner of the Frank Herring & Sons Award

‘I’ve never submitted my pastel work to an exhibition in the UK before, but I felt ready to do it this year after winning a prize in America’ says Sophie Amauger. Regular Mall Galleries exhibitor Penelope Milner told Sophie about The Pastel Society Call for Entries, and the artist decided to enter her work. ‘As a member of an art society in France, I also met some of The Pastel Society members, David Brammeld RBA PS and Margaret Glass PS, when they visited us in France.

‘It has been a great experience to see my work hanging alongside member artists at The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition’ says Sophie. ‘I was astonished by the quality of the works on display, and the diversity of mediums and subject matters. Many of the artists have such a strong style that their work is instantly recognisable. Several of the exhibitors are very well-known in France. Halla Shafey, who won the Henri Roche Award for her work Red Sea, is featured in this month’s popular French Arts Magazine, Pratique Des Arts. It was great to meet her at The Pastel Society private view.’

The Plunge by Sophie Amauger: Pastel, 80 x 80 cm - £2,100

‘Exhibiting at Mall Galleries is like showing your work in a national museum; the quality of the space, the light, and the various rooms creates a special environment for displaying art. I feel very lucky to have been selected and even more so to receive a prize, because lots of talented artists compete for a spot on Mall Galleries’ walls.’

‘If I was to offer advice to other artists thinking about submitting to a Mall Galleries Call for Entries, I would say that having a nice technique is not enough; personality is required. Now that I’ve exhibited at The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition and won the Frank Herring & Sons Award, I feel inspired to devote more of my time and efforts to creating work and exhibiting. This has been a great step for my art career.’

Lynn Norton

‘This was my first attempt at entering an exhibition at Mall Galleries and I’m absolutely thrilled to have a painting accepted’ says Lynn Norton. ‘I was encouraged by an art tutor, herself a member of The Pastel Society, who thought my work was of a high enough standard to exhibit. I’m so delighted she persuaded me to enter as I wouldn’t have had the courage otherwise.’  

‘I discovered The Pastel Society a few years ago. Visiting Mall Galleries for their Annual Exhibitions helped me to discover how I could use pastels in an exciting way. Traditional ideas of safe pastel painting are long gone thanks to exhibitions like this one; there are so many techniques, styles, and innovative approaches to dry media on display. I love getting up close to the paintings to study the mark making the artists have used.’

Komorebi by Lynn Norton: Pastel & Acrylic, 62 x 62 cm - £500

‘Attending the private view and seeing my painting on display among such fabulous work was a surreal moment for me. My adult daughters came too, and it was a proud moment showing them the painting hanging in such a fantastic gallery, with such a prestigious art society.’

The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2019 is great. There’s something for every taste and budget, and an amazing range of sizes, so whether you’re looking for an enormous statement piece, or trying to fit great beauty into a small space, there’s something for you. It was fantastic to see a full spectrum of styles, with examples of everything from pure abstraction to photorealism on display. Some of the paintings were so realistic I had to scrutinise them closely just to believe they were created with pastels.’

‘It’s early days, but I’ve already had some great feedback from being in the exhibition. Some people didn’t know about Mall Galleries, and they’ve all loved the space. Others had assumed certain things about dry media, but were amazed at the work on display.’

‘I would encourage other artists to enter their work to Mall Galleries Call for Entries. It’s scary at first, but the online application process is very straightforward. Mall Galleries shares a list of trusted art couriers on their website, so that took care of the logistics. I found a lovely chap who transports artwork from Northern England, and it was plain sailing after that. Having done it once, I’d like to do it again, and I’d recommend others to do so too.’

Phil Irons

‘I really liked that The Pastel Society welcomes innovative work and pencil drawings, which is my medium’ says Phil Irons, ‘so my family encouraged me to enter their Call for Entries. I met several of the judges and members of the society, and they were all extremely friendly and encouraging as well.’

Old Fishing Shed, Dungeness by Phil Irons: Pencil, 31 x 47 cm - £1,000

‘It’s quite surreal to have my work on display in The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition because I’ve only been drawing for 18 months. I didn’t really expect my submission to be successful, so to see my drawing hang alongside such talented artists is very humbling. The standard of the works in the exhibition is really impressive, and the gallery space looks amazing.’

‘Since the exhibition opened, I’ve received encouraging and complimentary comments from other exhibitors and members, especially on social media. I would certainly encourage other artists to enter in the future.’

Eugenia Solomkina

‘This is the first exhibition of my artistic career’, says Eugenia Solomkina. ‘I submitted to The Pastel Society Call for Entries because I wanted to know whether my work is good enough for public display. I’m a student at LARA, and I still have a couple of years before I finish my training, so it was really flattering to know that my technical skill impressed The Pastel Society judges.’

Steve by Eugenia Solomkina: Charcoal, 92 x 51 cm - £1,200

‘I really appreciate how exhibitions at Mall Galleries provide opportunities for emerging artists to reach a wider audience, and to get their name out there. It’s fantastic to show my work alongside prominent members of The Pastel Society, in an exhibition where the level of skill on display is so high. I will definitely tell other artists to submit their work to future exhibitions.’

Tracey Gent

‘I decided to enter The Pastel Society Open Exhibition after meeting member artists Caroline Bays PS and Susan Relph PS at life drawing classes in Woking, who suggested I should submit my work’, says Tracey. ‘I've been submitting for a few years now, and this is the first year that my work has been accepted.’

‘I was drawn to The Pastel Society because of the lovely work on display in the Annual Exhibitions. This year, I’ve started signing up to the society’s workshops and events at Mall Galleries too.’

Stone and Shadow by Tracey Gent: Pastel & charcoal pencil, 33 x 28 cm - £350

‘It’s very flattering and a little intimidating to have my work on display alongside such talented artists. I feel like I still have a lot to learn. As a community, The Pastel Society has been very supportive and congratulatory. One member took me under her wing at the private view and introduced me to lots of the other exhibitors, which was great.’

‘I would encourage other artists to submit their work to Mall Galleries Call for Entries’ says Tracey, ‘with the advice that they shouldn’t be discouraged if they are rejected. It can be difficult to handle, but it’s also part of the process.’

Find out more about the artists and work in The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2019

Image credit

Old Fishing Shed, Dungeness by Phil Irons

The Pastel Society 2019: Interactive Map

The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2019

The Pastel Society hold their Annual Exhibition at Mall Galleries from 5 to 16 February 2019.

Based on the titles of works, this map reveals 54 locations around the world where members of The Pastel Society and guest exhibitors have found inspiration, and the works of art they created there.

All these works and more will be on display at Mall Galleries from 5 to 16 February, with a private view on Tuesday 4 February from 2pm to 8pm.

Browse and Buy works from the exhibition


Help us improve this map:

While best efforts have been made to accurately plot locations, please let us know where improvements can be made. Email: admin@mallgalleries.com

Picturing the World in Pastels

Pastel Society exhibitor Richard Rees PS travels the world as an architect, and documents the places he visits in vibrant pastels.

Clevedon Pier, Somerset by Richard Rees PS: Oil Pastel, 49 x 68 cm - £750

'Visiting a new city or seeing a piece of historic architecture inspires my artistic practice' says new Pastel Society member, Richard Rees. 'I take a sketch book and camera with me on my travels to record the most interesting sights, and use these records to form works of art in oil pastel. I'm drawn to distinctive patterns, colours, and shapes, so even though my works in this year’s Pastel Society exhibition depict locations as far flung as Somerset and Yemen, they are linked by this overarching focus.'

Canary Wharf at Night by Richard Rees PS: Oil Pastel, 39 x 33 cm - £300

'In my UK scenes, it was the patterns that spoke to me. I liked the floating grids of light at Canary Wharf and the mysterious river reflections. For Clevedon Pier, Somerset it was the curved and gridded structure of the supports for the pier, dark against the blue Bristol Channel behind. For  Falmouth Boats 2, I liked the dancing rhythm of the sails and their contrast with the sky, sea and land.'

Falmouth Boats 2 by Richard Rees PS: Oil Pastel, 50 x 65 cm - £800

'At Eguisheim, a medieval village in France’s Alsace wine region, I found traditional timber frame structures, overhanging roofs, and pastel colours which looked like they had come straight out of a fairytale.'

Street in Eguisheim, Alsace by Richard Rees PS: Oil Pastel, 60 x 48 cm - £750

'My fifth oil pastel in the Pastel Society Annual Exhibitoin 2019, which is open from 5 February to 16 February 2019, is of Shibam in Yemen. It is the only place I've depicted that I have not visited, and as the country is now caught in the grips of a tragic civil war, it is currently impossible to do so. This World Heritage Site City is unique in having hundreds of eleven storey mud towers, dating from the Middle Ages. I was captivated by photos of the patterns these created and added my own colour interpretation.'

Shibam, Yemen by Richard Rees PS: Oil Pastel, 52 x 65 cm - £650

'Although I am still travelling a lot, my next subject is a series inspired by the Thames Bridges in London. Each work will gradually reveal more of the building's structure, forms, and variations. I'm also working on depictions of a Pueblo settlement at Mesa Verde, and a multi-windowed façade in Berat, Albania.'

Discover the Pastel Society Annual Exhibition Online Now

Image credit

Shibam, Yemen by Richard Rees PS

Introducing Dachan

Dachan is a renowned Chinese contemporary artist who is also a poet, calligrapher and painter. The artist uses traditional Chinese watercolour and inkwork, and a variety of traditional scripts in his calligraphy to introduce ancient practices into the world of modern art.

The Art of a Spiritual Era Brightens All Living Things: The Art of Dachan World Tour Exhibition is a series of exhibitions showcasing the ink wash paintings and other works by this artist. It represents a global journey of spiritual culture, guided by the theory of unity through art. The tour began in 2016, and these works have so far been exhibited in the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Russia, Italy, Germany and India. Dachan’s work will be complemented by a video allowing visitors to experience the world of Buddhism through virtual reality technology, creating a truly immersive experience.

Dachan’s works are rich in content and highly individualistic. Their poetic, calligraphic and pictorial aspects are intimately integrated. By using traditional practices in a contemporary manner, Dachan assimilates the spirit of Chinese modern art with a Zen sensibility, using ink wash methods rooted in Chinese culture to portray the changelessness of life. It is hoped that the language and vitality of his works lead viewers to have a more positive and joyous outlook on life.

Find out more about the Exhibition

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Behind the Scenes: Leanne Rutter AROI's Travel Paintings

Leanne Rutter AROI shares the stories behind her paintings in the ROI Annual Exhibition 2018, and how the institute helped to kickstart her art career.

'My relationship with the ROI began in 2009 when I exhibited with the society for the first time. I was fresh out of university and fairly unsure of my place in the world. One year later, I received both the Phyllis Roberts Award and 3rd prize in the Winsor & Newton Young Artist Award at the ROI Annual Exhibition. That recognition and support has been so useful for my artistic progression, and I hope to become a member of the ROI soon.'

'My paintings in this year’s exhibition reflect my love of travel, from the deserts and vast lakes of Southern Africa, and the lush jungles of Mexico, to resplendent woodlands in California and beyond. Here are some of the stories behind the works.'

'Before I left for South Africa, a friend taught me how to tattoo. Possessing this skill has changed so much for me - the way I travel, the people I meet, and my whole relationship with art and process. I had been going through a period of disenchantment, but through tattooing my creativity rushed back. While painting could feel lonely, I was suddenly working with interesting people every day. Tattooing funded my travels, and my travels inspired my art, helping me to love painting in a new way.'

Needless, Malawi

Needless, Malawi by Leanne Rutter AROI: Oil, 40 x 40 cm - £2,200

Needless is a scene from the last night of my most recent trip to Malawi. Often referred to as ‘the warm heart of Africa’, I’ve made some of my dearest friends there. It’s a country of great beauty, where you find a strong sense of community and joy in life, in spite of the widespread poverty.

On the final night of the trip, I was working alongside a tailor. The tailor was making several garments and I was finishing a large tattoo of a baobab tree. Suddenly we were plunged into darkness as the power failed. You’d think this would be a disaster, but somehow the blackout made us both concentrate; blackouts are a regular feature of life in Malawi, and work must go on regardless.

Both the tattoo and the clothes turned out beautifully, and that night is emblazoned on my memory. The resulting painting shows ‘two people who earn their living with needles, practicing their craft in my tiny flat under improvised light sources’ says the recipient of the tattoo, Ashley Malpass, from the Malawi Peace Corps.

Poaching Patrol, Malawi

Poaching Patrol, Malawi by Leanne Rutte AROI: Oil, 45 x 55 cm - £2,300

Poaching Patrol features Reto, a Swiss man I met who wanted a sleeve tattoo depicting creatures that creep in the Malawian night. Reto works to protect elephants and other animals in the vast forest of Thuma from poachers and charcoal-burners.

Without the support of teams such as Reto’s, there would soon be no wildlife left in this region. It’s not just elephants that are in danger, antelope and warthogs are targets for poachers as well. But elephants have so much emotional intelligence that they visibly grieve for fallen family members in an incredibly distressing way.

Reto’s job is hard and often lonely, with little respite. There will always be new snares, new poachers, and new horrors to behold after a long night of searching the through the dark trees. Working with local communities instead of against them is vital.

Desert Corax, California

Desert Corax, California by Leanne Rutter AROI: Oil, 15 x 40 cm - £2,000

I fell in love in San Francisco, and we travelled to the desert together. I recall the sunset as the saturation seemed to seep out of the landscape into the glowing skies overhead. A single hare. The imperious sharp silhouettes of Joshua Trees. Clambering up vast boulders. I felt so utterly present and in awe of the spell-binding stillness and silence. We made art and gazed at the skies.

See more works from the Exhibition

ROI 2018: Interactive Map

The Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition 2018 brings together works inspired by locations all over the world, from Las Vegas and Venice to Doncaster and St Tropez. Mall Galleries Digital Manager Liam Kilby plotted these locations for us on this brilliant interactive map. Can you find an exhibition artwork inspired by a place near you?

Based on the titles of works, this map reveals 85 locations around the world where members of the ROI and guest exhibitors have found inspiration, and the paintings they created there. All these works and more will be on display at Mall Galleries from 28 November to 9 December 2018. 

Help us improve this map

While our best efforts have been made to accurately plot locations, please let us know where improvements can be made. Email suggestions to admin@mallgalleries.com.

Discover the ROI Exhibition 2018