The Heygate Canvas

The other day I blogged about my experience wandering around the almost abandoned Heygate estate in the Elephant and Castle. It was a surreal feeling but what I learnt was the fact that despite the pressures, local people still could come together to make something of this area.

Out of the many things that surprised me about this place, the sheer abundance of street art decorating the walls of the area was the most impressive.  You can see the appeal, walls which are scheduled for demolition anyway provide a perfect canvas for artists wishing to express themselves and their talents seemingly without concern that offence could be given.  As it happens it seems to be the local council who have been a bit non-plussed in the past about such enhancement but surely that comes down to ignorance about the difference between art which enhances an area and low skilled tagging which ruins it.  The result, a lot of art has been washed over, only for the artists to recreate the same pieces in the same area.  A great blog on the running battle between artists and council can be found here.

But back to the art.  Amongst the work I recognised I could spot Malarky, Sweet Toof, Gold Peg and Mighty Mo.  Many more artists who I’m unfamiliar with could also be seen.   The most impressive work in my mind being a giant bat by Malarky which wowed a little in its scale.  As you turn a corner, a new piece can be seen, as you round a bend, yet another.  The place is teeming with art and it’s quite exciting for someone who enjoys exploring and the thrill of discovery when another piece is revealed.  Catch it soon though before the local council get there again either to paint over the walls, or to knock them down.

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