Street artists have gathered together to show their support for the traders currently at risk of eviction from the iconic railway arches in Brixton!
Containing a variety of colourful businesses from sole trader electrical retailers to fishmongers, to grocers and cafes, the arches have long been synonymous with Brixton yet as part of a programme of redevelopment works they are now under threat.
So far over 21000 people have signed a petition against network rails plans to evict the tenants in order to redevelop the site. The resultant disruption meaning that for at least a year the businesses, some of which have been operating for over 25 years would have to find somewhere else from which to trade. A prospect which is likely to put a number of the traders out of business altogether.
One of the traders, fishmonger Lorne Mash perhaps expressed the views of many when he told the Evening Standard “I’m a bit devastated by it all. You can’t just move premises and start a business. People come to us, we don’t tout the business, we’ve earned our stripes… Brixton’s on a change and we feel as independent traders we’re being squeezed out.”
The campaign to get street artists involved has been led by local artist PINS, himself a well known figure on the street art scene. Initially contacted by one of the businesses to paint a mural on one of the shutters, PINS then offered to help raise awareness of the situation by getting some other friends from the street art scene involved. The first official mural as part of the campaign came from Norway’s talented London based artist Zina, recognisable for her blue photo realistic portraits of real people and someone we featured recently as she painted the Shoreditch Art Wall.
Speaking to London Live PINS gave a little background to the work that the artists would be doing. “We’re adding some beautiful art to something that technically you’re taking away from us, by doing this we are standing up for what we believe in. Brixtons all about character and if you take away these arches you sort of take away the character of Brixton.”
Visiting the arches on Easter Monday, Inspiring City was able to catch another of the artists, Lilly Lou, in action painting one of the shutters. Her message, simply saying ‘Stop the Evictions’ in her flowing and eye catching calligraphy gained a lot of admirers as people passed by to take a look. She was painting towards the back end of a weekend which had already seen artists such as Vanessa Longchamp, Aero and Mr. Cenz painting their own individual shutters.
Brixton is already a part of town which is used to street art although not usually on the scale of what is being planned for the shutters surrounding the arches. Look around and you’ll see plenty. In fact we’ve already covered the street art of Brixton and featured a number of images from the area on Inspiring City so any trip to the area can already be rewarding if you are a fan of urban art. The work happening as part of the #savebrixtonarches campaign will only add to that reputation.
The Brixton Arches were visited on Monday 6 April 2015. The campaign is being led by the artist PINS and supported by our friends at ‘Trapped in Zone One‘. Painting on the day was Lilly Lou, an artist well known for her flowing calligraphy. People can show their support by tweeting pictures or comments with the hashtag #savebrixtonarches or by signing the petition on change.org which can be found here.
The Brixton Arches Gallery