A portrait of a greengrocer wearing a hat and coat, surrounded by produce.

“Greengrocer at Crow Road Market.” All images © Damien Cifelli, shared with permission

“I think it says a lot about humans that we have been creating alternative worlds as long as we have been around, whether it’s a way of escaping our reality or thinking of new ways of living,” says Damien Cifelli. From a stoic greengrocer to a gathering of friends to a bored shop clerk, vibrant colors illuminate a stylish cast of characters in the London-based artist’s paintings.

Cifelli’s work revolves around a fictional world called “Tarogramma,” drawn from his experiences traveling and living abroad, and many of the pieces shown here are part of the artist’s solo exhibition Welcome to Tarogramma at Moosey. “As a kid, I was fascinated by adventure novels, explorers, and the idea of discovering a new place,” he tells Colossal.

I love seeing the distinct visual cultures that are built up and refined over generations. There is meaning behind everything. It’s so nuanced, it would take forever to really understand it all. I realised that if I created my own world, based on my own history and ancestral stories, I could use it as a vessel for all the ideas I have.

Cifelli approaches his practice through narrative, primarily focused on painting but often incorporating additional elements like wood sculptures, clay reliefs, scarves, banners, badges, pins, architectural models, and sound. Tarogramma is “a fictional land with a detailed culture and its own aesthetic, way of living, and understanding of the world,” Cifelli tells Colossal. “The paintings are a visual representation of the place and the people, like documentary images of a new world.”

Welcome to Tarogramma is on view in London through August 31, and you can find more of Cifelli’s work on his website and Instagram.


A colorful painting of friends seated around a dinner table covered in food.


A painting of a bored shop clerk surrounded by fictional branded boxes.

“Higher Ground General Store”

A painting of numerous people wearing scarves, with customized football scarves hanging from the bottom.

“The Cup Final (Pre-Game)”

A painting of five figures.

“May You Live in Interesting Times”

A painting of two people seated at a table with a wall painting in the background.

“Dinner at the False Idol”

A diptych of two figures wearing puffer jackets next to a snowy mountain peak.

“Summiting Taro Mountain”

A horizontal painting of eight figures wearing colorful robes.

“The Congress (This New World Needs a Name)”

A painting of a young woman wearing glasses, standing behind a giant green and pink cake.

“Too Much Love”

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article Community and Connection Center in Damien Cifelli’s Portraits of a Fictional World appeared first on Colossal.