The Fantastical World of Dorothy Circus Gallery

Say what you will about Instagram, but the app is great when it comes to discovering new things – the latest discovery for me being the striking art gallery that is Dorothy Circus. Established in Rome over a decade ago, Dorothy Circus also has a location in the lovely area of Connaught Village in London, which I had the pleasure of visiting last weekend.

What initially drew me to this place was an installation by street artist Seth, which started popping up on my Instagram stories and looked pretty incredible. I then ‘investigated’ a little further and found out that the gallery was currently hosting an exhibition on the Iranian artist Afarin Sajedi – as a half Persian gal, this made me curiouser and curiouser. Also, Dorothy Circus (Can I just say what a great name that is?!) specialises in contemporary surrealist art, a movement that I am fascinated by. So it’s no surprise that it was love at first sight upon entering the gallery – here is a little peek of both the exhibition that’s on as well as a few of the other gems to be found at Dorothy Circus…


Born in Shiraz (Where my family happens to be from!) in 1979, Sajedi is now based in Tehran. She was introduced to Italian art at an early age, which is probably why you can see traces of Renaissance art in her artwork. But inspirations aside, Sajedi’s paintings feel highly unique and special. There is also an element of darkness too, as well as a strong ode to womanhood – the title of this exhibition was “ECCE MULIER” (a take on the Latin saying “Ecce homo” – behold the man – which roughly translates as “Behold the woman”). I loved discovering this artist’s work – as I probably explained in this previous post I am very drawn to figurative imagery that’s symbolic and open to interpretation, and that’s equally as beautiful as it is mysterious, haunting and even unsettling.

“You look ready”


“New year”

“L’insoustenable sacre”


Let’s talk about the gallery itself – it’s an absolute beauty, starting from its eye-catching facade. The whole gallery, which is cosily split on two levels, is all aquamarine blue – while its sister location in Rome is all red. The top floor is straightforward and minimal and currently not only features Afarin Sajedi’s works and other products on display, but also the amazing installation by Seth that I spotted on many an Instagram stories. The other floor is a perfect contrast to the effective simplicity of the top floor. Resembling an otherworldly, almost magical ‘living room’ from another era, the mesmerising second floor is wonderfully laid out, with an exquisite selection of works by artists such as Ray Ceasar and Mark Ryden.

The space succeeds in complementing the artworks on display – with its aquamarine hue, pristine furniture and floral touches, the living room on the bottom floor in particular is, at a glance, a gorgeous spot that begs to be photographed. But ultimately the artworks are what make the room and give it an almost eerie feel.

“Scienta potestas est (Knowledge is power),” by Seth

“Just friends,” by Paolo Pedroni

Centre: “Dreamy spring,” by Kwon Kyung-yup

“Chambrum rangeam,” by Seth

Clockwise from top right: “Cat lady”, “Squirrel lady”, “Mouse lady” and “Sheep lady” by Marion Peck

“Spring,” by Paolo Pedroni

“Santa worm,” by Mark Ryden

“Beneath the waves,” by Gosia

“Coney Island Supper Club,” by Joe Sorren

“Into the ocean,” by Gosia

“The empress,” by Leila Ataya

“Primp & preen,” by Kazuki Takamatsu

“With all her worldly possessions,” by Ray Ceasar

Left: artwork by Camila d’Errico. Right: artworks by Paolo Pedroni

“Cherie,” by Nicoletta Ceccoli

Apart from many (if not all) of these works being right up my alley, I admire how Dorothy Circus Gallery aims to create a fully immersive experience for visitors. Not only is this reflected in the vibrancy of the walls and level of detail within its interiors, but also in the fact that Dorothy Circus has launched Dorothy Circus Factory. In collaboration with artisans and its in-house artists, the gallery is making its very own luxury perfumes, candles and teas, truly adhering to the idea that art is for all the senses. Personally, I think it’s very interesting and exciting to see an art gallery push boundaries and redefine the meaning of art curation.

So I guess I have to thank (and not curse – for a change) Instagram for having brought Dorothy Circus to my attention. I’m thrilled to have found a new favourite art gallery in London – and now I finally have a good excuse to revisit Rome…

“Asfarin Sajedi – ECCE MULIER” is on until April 6th, 2019. This exhibition will be followed by “Mother and Child,” a collective exhibition showcasing female artists’ visions on maternity. For more updates follow @dorothycircusgallery on Instagram.

All pictures taken at Dorothy Circus Gallery by ©Vanessa Zaree in Connaught Village (Marble Arch), London, on March 16th, 2019  – please do not use any of these pictures without my permission!


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