Dot Art – Gin Lane, Liverpool by Alice Lenkiewicz

alice-night_shadows-100Gin Lane, Liverpool by Alice Lenkiewicz
26 October – 27 November 2009
Exhibition of new paintings by professional artist Alice Lenkiewicz, which form a social commentary on Liverpool’s night-life and drinking culture. More than 8% of Liverpool’s population are drinking at levels that will lead to them significantly harming their physical and mental health and that of others, and this show questions whether we have moved on as a society since similar concerns over ‘binge drinking’ in the 18th century.


‘Gin Lane, Liverpool’ was inspired by the subject matter of the 18th century artist, William Hogarth who drew people on the streets and studied the drinking culture of the time which led to him creating a series of works based on so called ‘modern moral subjects’. Later important prints include his pictorial warning of the unpleasant consequences of alcoholism in Beer Street and Gin Lane (1751).

Alice took her cue from Hogarth as she recognised striking parallels with our own contemporary city:

‘I decided because of the effect of drinking culture on our present society that it would be interesting to do something similar so I went out to draw people from all walks of life, drinking and socialising at night and turned these into oil paintings and further studies. I went into various popular venues, pubs, clubs in Liverpool … Sometimes I would draw inside the clubs or create paintings of specific street scenes. I concentrated mainly on local pubs around Toxteth and Dingle as well as in the city centre and surrounding areas, particularly Mathew Street, Bold Street, Clayton Square and Slater Street. Sometimes it was quite ghostly as I felt as if nothing had changed  from Hogarth’s time on the social scene.’

‘This project taught me that night-life culture is very important for allowing people to express themselves and to have fun but it is also important that people are fully educated of the problems that arise from over abuse of alcohol and drink dependency. I noticed many people who were not consuming vast amounts of alcohol and some who did not need it at all.

This sets a role model for enjoyment without the need for self abuse or abuse towards others.’


Peter Borsay, a researcher at Aberystwyth University, said in a recent interview with the BBC that claims that problem drinking is indicative of a broken society are no different now to in the 18th century, with the main difference being the media hype surrounding the issue today:

“At first glance, the parallels between the 18th century gin craze and contemporary binge-drinking appear striking. But it is not drinking behaviour that merits the comparison, but the moral panics that characterised both periods, fuelled by pressure groups, the media and perceptions of government complacency.”

Alice Lenkiewicz is a practising artist and poet who lives in Liverpool with her two daughters. She was born in 1964 and brought up in Plymouth. From an early age she was interested in writing and art. Her father, the controversial artist, Robert Lenkiewicz introduced her to an eclectic world of painting, fairytales and books on the occult as she grew up. These experiences have always initiated her own interests in the esoteric, magical realism and popular culture, inspiring her to pursue her individual style and voice in Art and Poetry. She later studied these subjects in more depth at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, gaining a BA hons in Art & Design and English as well as an MA in Writing Studies.

All work is for sale.  Admission is free.

Venue details

“The Meeting” Alice Lenkiewicz