Public spaces around Bankside have had a creative facelift in recent weeks, thanks to a partnership between Tate Collective and Better Bankside. At a particularly challenging time for the arts, the new Beyond Boundaries project showcases the talents of five emerging artists through five new outdoor artworks. The five artists are all based in London and work across a range of mediums addressing issues affecting young people today.
The site-specific artworks were created with support from mentors Julia Vogl, Dreph, Victor Ehikhamenor, Lesley Asare and Sharon Walters, and celebrate the character and creativity of Bankside – a neighbourhood that has experienced constant reinvention. The new pieces aim to reconnect people with art, each other and their local area, with each artist invited to produce a new commission responding to lockdown, the easing of restrictions and the chance to see people again. They can be seen on Great Suffolk Street, Southwark Street, Gambia Street, St. Felix Place and Canvey Street. Launched in late May, the artworks are intended to remain in place around Tate Modern and Bankside for a minimum of 12 months.
Each of the five works on show explore a different idea under the broad theme of the project. Megan Visser’s work reflects on the ability of food to bring people together. Her work creates a physical meeting-point where people can stop and eat. Opposite a local café, Hannah Hill pays homage to the area and the people who live there through a series of motifs inspired by shared stories and research.
Zeinab Saleh invites passersby to reflect on the role that music and creativity plays in our daily lives, especially during a period of lockdown. The area’s history of performance, theatre and music is also explored in artist Koby Martin’s work for the project. At a time when women were not allowed to act, men performed as women on stage, and these performances form the basis for his wall piece, Spotlight Dreams.
Blk Moody Boi‘s piece asks the question, “What does it mean to be safe outside?” Reflecting on the communities that must consider how they move in space, their illustration communicates a message of solidarity. Regarding their work for the project, Blk Moody Boi says that “It is possible to create art in community, you can be an artist without a formal education. This piece is a love letter to trans people of colour who have to navigate a world that constantly makes them feel invisible. I dream of a world where we can be more than safe, a world where trans people are liberated.”
As well as creating a striking visual experience, Beyond Boundaries hopes to create sites of interaction for the wider community, with the project as a whole developed in dialogue with local residents and businesses. A series of socially distanced activations is planned for later this summer, which will bring together local youth groups for a live experience.
For more information on this project, visit betterbankside.co.uk.
Article by Toby Buckley.