Thamesmead Canals Transformed with Nature Murals

Underpasses along Thamesmead’s picturesque canals have been painted with a series of spectacular nature murals. Part of a community project to brighten up the area, five artists created murals at eight underpasses. All connecting Thamesmead’s four mile network of canals.

It was Peabody who commissioned the work. Joining with Monikor Projects they identified four artists to work with, all known for their work on the streets. They were joined by Paige Denham, a local designer who won a competition to add her own mural to the project.

Paige Denham standing next to her mural in Thamesmead
Paige Denham next to her mural in Thamesmead

Murals in Thamesmead

The result is a series of murals in Thamesmead which form a collection of permanent outdoor artworks in the area. All are inspired by the local nature of the area and were mainly created over the period of the second UK lockdown. Artists Louis Masai, Jo Peel and Hixxy have so far created pieces along with Paige Denham. Hull’s Xenz will soon be joining them with his additions, though this is now likely to be in the new year.

Speaking about the Thamesmead mural project Paige Denham said “painting a large scale piece of art, which will be there forever, has always been a career goal of mine”. Creating her work alongside some of the UK’s most established environmental street artists was, she said, “an absolute pleasure”. Adding that it had given her an opportunity to share her “colourful outlook on the world with the residents of a town I treasure so much”.

Mural from Paige Denham with the canal in the foreground

Underpass Transformation

Thamesmead itself as an area is possibly more known for it’s striking brutalist architecture. The film ‘A Clockwork Orange’ was filmed there. It’s elevated walkways and towers perhaps come to mind first when thinking about the landscape. It’s five major lakes, nature reserve and of course the canals are however not as widely known about. This despite the fact that the area was actually designed around water. It was something that was key in terms of Thamesmead’s original inception.

Adriana Marques, Peabody’s Head of Culture for Thamesmead, said that she hoped the murals would be just the beginning. Hoping that it would be the catalyst to bring more public art and murals into the area. “These underpasses have been dark and unloved for years” she said.

Thamesmead Canal Murals

Jo Peel – instagram

Known for her iconic cityscapes. Jo received help from Hawksmoor Primary School in her design. She created a skyline of Thamesmead’s most loved buildings. This is the canal underpass next to the town centre.

completed mural by Jo Peel in Thamesmead
Completed mural by Jo Peel in Thamesmead
Detail of Jo Peel’s mural in the underpass

Hixxy – instagram

Best known for her large scale flora and fauna murals. Hixxy painted a mural depicting some of Thamesmead’s thriving wildlife. This can be found in the underpass next to the ‘Tump 53 Nature Reserve’

Hixxy mural painted in Thamesmead
Mural by Hixxy painted on an underpass in Thamesmead
Hixxy mural in an underpass next to the canal

Louis Masai – instagram

For a long time Louis Masai has been drawing attention to the plight of endangered species around the world. Some of his artwork as a result has a huge poignancy to it and is instantly recognisable. Choosing to paint a series of eels, which inhabit Thamesmeads waterways. He also chose to depict the rare Carver Bee.

Eels mural by Louis masai painted in Thamesmead
Eels by Louis Masai painted on an underpass in Thamesmead
Louis Masai’s Carver Bee stitching together the eels in the underpass

Paige Denham – instagram

A local print and textile designer, Paige Denham is known for her bright, colourful patterning. Inspired by her love of culture and travel. Her piece is a representation of the area 47 years ago when her nan moved to the area. Nods to architecture which is no longer there as well as to some of the new initiatives taking place in the area to brighten it up. You can read more about her inspirations here.

Paige Denham mural in Thamesmead
Finished mural from Paige Denham in Thamesmead
Paige Denham’s mural in the underpass

Xenz – instagram

Still to add his work to the underpasses of Thamesmead. Xenz is well known for his environmental paintings. Often depicting birds and plants from across the world, he’ll be painting his murals on the underpasses along the Crossways Canal.

A recent project from Xenz in Oslo saw him transform a series of pillars on an underpass in the city.

The murals in Thamesmead are part of a project led by Peabody. Working with Monikor Projects they created the murals between October and December 2020.

Hannah Adamaszek creating a fox for the Walthamstow mural project

To read about another project which transformed an underpass in Walthamstow, click here.


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