‘In the Rings with Ali’ at Forman’s Smokehouse Gallery
London Living were delighted to attend the private view and launch party of new exhibition ‘In the Rings with Ali’ at Forman’s Smokehouse Gallery last week, which is proudly sponsored by yours truly, East Village.
The incredible views over the Olympic Stadium were impressive enough – we could even hear rehearsal music floating across the canal – but the exhibition itself is as entertaining and humbling as it is timely.
One of the world’s most beloved Olympians since 1960, when he won the gold in Rome, to 1996, when with shaking hands, he lit the Olympic Cauldron in Atlanta, Muhammad Ali is nothing if not a sporting hero in the true sense.
To celebrate his birthday, this major exhibition, which was attended by his brother, Rahaman Ali, couldn’t be better placed, with images of the hero in every interpretation placed around the huge space, almost looking on to the Stadium across the way.
Photographs and paintings of Ali over the years were shown alongside audio and video installations, showing not only his extraordinary skill but also his softer side as a family man and a humanitarian.
The night itself was a celebration of the sport, with the organisers and sponsors of the event teaming up with ex-boxers Oliver Wilson (British Light Middle, Middleweight and Henry Cooper Golden Belt Champion) and Rod Douglas (Commonwealth gold medalist, four-time ABAE Champion and Olympian) to produce ‘The Muhammad Ali Outreach Programme’. Working with young boxers from Holland and England, they performed a boxing show at the event, which was bustling with hundreds of Ali, Olympic and art fans.
For the last 25 years, despite suffering with Parkinson’s Syndrome, Ali dedicated his life to humanitarian causes and encouraged people of all backgrounds amd races to understand and respect each other. The below facts are thanks to http://www.in-the-rings-with-ali.com:
• Ali has helped to provide 232 million meals to those suffering food poverty, and has hand-delivered food and
medical supplies to needy communities in Asia, Africa and North and South America.
• He is the international ambassador of Jubilee 2000, a global organization dedicated to relieving debt in
• He has raised millions of dollars for research into Parkinson’s Disease.
• Ali has been a peace campaigner since the 1960s, when he refused to fight in Vietnam, and he continues to
fight for peace to this day.
• In the 1960s he worked alongside black activists to try to end race discrimination in the US, and he remains
an ambassador for race relations under Obama’s administration.
• Former President Jimmy Carter called Ali “Mr International Friendship” and in 2005 he was awarded the
Presidential Medal of Freedom.
• Amnesty International have given him their Lifetime Achievement Award and the Secretary-General of
the UN bestowed him with the citation United Nations Messenger of Peace.
No other sportsman has done so much, in so many areas, while fighting severe progressive illness.
For more information, visit the Forman’s website. The exhibition is running until the end of September.