Meet Gabrielle de la Puente & Zarina Muhammad, the founding duo of alternative art review platform: The White Pube. Born a week apart in June of the same year, the Cancer babies met whilst studying Fine Art at Central Saint Martins and soon became best friends. But it was a general rant about a particular exhibition review (Jon Rafman’s show at the Zabludowicz) published in the Evening Standard – and its lack of the fundamentals: opinion and critique – that turned their friendship into a creative partnership, too. Not only were they sick of reading the same mundane re-hashed press releases, Gabrielle and Zarina were also disheartened by the lack of representation and accessibility in the art world or as they put it, tired of “white people, white walls and white wine”. So, by switching the 1-5 star review rating system for emojis and deciding on a strategy that favoured carefully considered, natural, inclusive and informative storytelling (and a flexible approach to grammar), Gabrielle and Zarina said “fuck it, let’s do it ourselves” and The White Pube was born.
Now located between Liverpool and London Gabrielle and Zarina cover everything from exhibition reviews (Mark Lecky’s exhibition at Cubitt this summer received a fire emoji, whilst Wolfgang at The Tate got the looky-looky eyes), to musings on the production value of Love Island, and skincare advice, as told by Zarina. The White Pube also includes a library, that sees Gabrielle and Zarina invite members of TWP’s community to submit their texts for others to read and the duo regularly curate screenings, like Zayn Malik Zindabad at London’s ICA. A celebration of artists of colour, the screening focussed on the individuals at hand and their work rather than their identity, and was presented to and discussed by a wide, diverse audience.
Having garnered quite the cult following online, Gabrielle and Zarina realised the potential of their virtual real estate and started The White Pube Residency, that sees them invite web artists to exhibit their work each month. They’re also big on dating. But not of the Tinder or Bumble variety. Instead, The White Pube put out a call for “art dates”, as a way to get to know their community IRL by spending time at a gallery, a park, or wherever else you might fancy. Now that’s a date we’d swipe right for.