In Pictures: See How Artist and Instagram Sensation Cj Hendry Transformed a London Church Into a Botanical Wonderland

Just minutes away from the hustle and bustle of a busy East London road, a moment of serenity awaits those curious enough to step inside a humble 19th-century church, where they will find cascades of white petals falling gently from the ceiling.

The joyful feat is the work of artist and Instagram sensation Cj Hendry, who has transformed the space into a magical world of dappled sunlight for her first exhibition in the UK capital. With the church setting and rows of candles, it feels just like something out of Harry Potter (the artist is a fan).

Called “Epilogue,” the show includes 30 new drawings of flowers in Hendry’s signature hyper-realistic style. So persuasive is the visual trickery of the drawings that one visitor was heard remarking to the artist during the private view: “I love your photographs.”

A general view of the opening of “Epilogue,” the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York-based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London. Photo: courtesy of Cj Hendry.

The new body of work is a monochromatic black-and-white affair, a much more muted palette than we are familiar with from the artist whose bright trompe l’oeil drawings have consistently captivated the internet. The drawings are joined by a suite of delicate flower sculptures.

While the new works do have a serenity to them, which is certainly not hurt by the setting, the effect is somewhat melancholic. That is intentional. Evoking the ephemeral nature of beauty, the artist draws attention to the fact that she is capturing cut flowers on the verge of withering and decay.

“It’s natural, at this time in the world, that this series be concerned with the provocation of time, death and decay,” Hendry said. “We treasure flowers for their floating beauty. Countless artists have depicted flowers in full bloom, but few have portrayed them as they begin to wither and shed their petals. To me, this is where the beauty lies, and ‘Epilogue’ is a memorial to them and a reminder that nothing lasts forever.”

A general view of the opening of 'Epilogue' - the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London.  Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of “Epilogue,” the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York-based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London. Photo: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Cj Hendry.

The ephemeral nature of the exhibition itself (which will run for just 10 days) offers a stark contrast to the meticulous and time-consuming process of composing the images; even the smaller-scale works can take as many as 80 hours to complete.

In preparation for the exhibition, Hendry’s team invested in renovating the church, which had fallen into disrepair in the 1960s, and it will be returned to the community after the show’s run. While the artist was formally trained as an architect, she told Artnet News at the opening that she left the repair work up to true professionals, confessing: “I was a terrible architect.”

The exhibition has been made most memorable by the millions of paper petals, amounting to around 10 tonnes of confetti, that are set up to continuously fall from the church ceiling for the duration of the ten-day exhibition. They blanket the floor beneath her drawings of her, which pull reference points from 17th-century Dutch still-life paintings and the Pop art of Andy Warhol. See images of the stunning exhibition below.

“Cj Hendry: Epilogue” is on view at New Testament Church of God, London E3 5AA, through May 22.

A general view of the opening of 'Epilogue' - the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London.  Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of “Epilogue,” the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York-based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London. Photo: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of 'Epilogue' - the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London.  Photo courtesy Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of “Epilogue,” the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York-based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London. Photo: courtesy of Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of 'Epilogue' - the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London.  Photo courtesy Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of “Epilogue,” the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York-based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London. Photo: courtesy of Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of 'Epilogue' - the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London.  Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of “Epilogue,” the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York-based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London. Photo: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of 'Epilogue' - the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London.  Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of “Epilogue,” the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York-based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London. Photo: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of 'Epilogue' - the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London.  Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of “Epilogue,” the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York-based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London. Photo: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of 'Epilogue' - the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London.  Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of “Epilogue,” the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York-based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London. Photo: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of 'Epilogue' - the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London.  Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of “Epilogue,” the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York-based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London. Photo: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of 'Epilogue' - the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London.  Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of “Epilogue,” the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York-based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London. Photo: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of 'Epilogue' - the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London.  Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of “Epilogue,” the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York-based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London. Photo: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of 'Epilogue' - the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London.  Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of “Epilogue,” the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York-based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London. Photo: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of 'Epilogue' - the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London.  Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Cj Hendry.

Brisbane-born, New York-based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London. Photo: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of 'Epilogue' - the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London.  Photo courtesy Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of “Epilogue,” the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York-based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London. Photo: courtesy of Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of 'Epilogue' - the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London.  Photo courtesy Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of “Epilogue,” the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York-based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London. Photo: courtesy of Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of 'Epilogue' - the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London.  Photo courtesy Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of “Epilogue,” the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York-based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London. Photo: courtesy of Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of “Epilogue,” the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York-based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London. Photo: courtesy of Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of 'Epilogue' - the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London.  Photo courtesy Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of “Epilogue,” the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York-based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London. Photo: courtesy of Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of 'Epilogue' - the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London.  Photo courtesy Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of “Epilogue,” the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York-based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London. Photo: courtesy of Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of 'Epilogue' - the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London.  Photo courtesy Cj Hendry.

A general view of the opening of “Epilogue,” the first UK solo show from Brisbane-born, New York-based artist Cj Hendry at the New Testament Church of God in East London. Photo: courtesy of Cj Hendry.

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