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Love Will Come Back is an exhibition of paintings by Ann Craven, with work by Robert Mapplethorpe and Mohammed Z Rahman. The combination of artists, each working with the image and presence of doves, enacts a theme or rhythm of homing and homecoming: back to inspirations, influences, and the act of return. The show draws together the practices of three artists of exceptional sensitivity, iconographical awareness, and compositional acuity.

Craven’s process is compelled by a desire to revisit her own subject matter – a near-spiritual cycle, akin to a repeated prayer or mantra. This exhibition reunites one of Craven’s recurring compositions with the work that inspired it: Robert Mapplethorpe’s 1979 photograph Patti Smith, depicting Smith holding two white doves – one perched on each hand. The photograph was used as the cover art for Smith’s album Wave in the same year it was taken. In Craven’s painting series, titled Night Wave (I Promise) (begun in 2008), she lifts Mapplethorpe’s doves on to two delicately painted branches, holding their original positions and placed against her signature painted backgrounds inspired by the work of Georgia O’Keeffe. Craven’s Night Wave (I Promise, Blue), 2011, and  Night Wave (I Promise, Gray), 2024, sit alongside her new work – paintings of doves fluttering and taking flight.

Love Will Come Back is named for the also mantra-like phrase painted in braille across the four matchboxes that constitute Mohammed Z Rahman’s work Hard Vow (2023). Each box features a miniature painting of a dove in flight against an inky background, with one word of the phrase painted in braille above each of the dove’s heads. The work is a declaration for enduring peace and justice as well as a symbol of homing or return – return of love and, specifically, return of those displaced by widespread violence in Palestine, Sudan, Congo and Haiti.

Rahman’s 2024 Ashawalla (Hopemonger), similarly speaks to the honest wish for lasting peace, the historical end to genocides worldwide and the safe return of displaced peoples. The painting depicts a rock dove returning to a dovecote – based on Pimp Hall Dovecote in Chingford, North East London, an area where Rahman carries out voluntary nature conservation – flying over a lush green landscape and a moat-like red river.

The practice of the three artists in Love Will Come Back converse through timeless subject matter. The dove’s presence across the works underscores shared emotional threads and provides a constant, iconic motif, with its connotations of restfulness and hope indicative of its essential heart and understated life force.

Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith, 1979, courtesy of The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, New York, and Alison Jacques, London.