One of my favourite public art spaces is the upstairs unit at Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre. The centre itself appears neglected – all the shop fittings and logos are about 20 years old or more. However, it’s anything but unloved. It’s usually buzzing, crowded with market stalls and cafes from all over the world, especially Latin America.
The upstairs has a number of units which are given over to various artists free of charge, although they do have to find money for utilities.
When I went along last weekend I found a photography exhibition (see photo below) and a crazy film-painting animation workshop run by Chris Daniels, who is travelling the length of the UK allocating one frame of Super-8 film to every metre from Land’s End to John o’ Groats.
There was a ‘make your own mosaics shop’ – creatively using public mosaics on street furniture to tackle gun and knife crime. I also met artist Rebecca Davies, hard at work creating a large sign for the screening of 1972 local documentary We Was All One, taking place later that day in a disused Tesco! She told me later that it was packed out.
This Friday I’m delighted to be doing some spooky storytelling there as part of ‘Voices from the Elephant’, a project with Resonance FM.