Stories Behind The Art: Buildings of Old

August 7th, 2019

The Brandon Estate in Kennington Park was in desperate need of some care and attention after it had spent years at the mercy of spray paint and graffiti. Local residents felt that the 60m stretch of wall surrounding Kennington Park represented the bygone days of gang culture and violence, a time the community were keen to leave behind. 

Brewers Decorator Centres in association with local group Bee Urban undertook an ambitious community scheme alongside the Brandon Tenants Residents Association to restore the community's spirit and unity by painting a massive mural along a 60m wall, making it one of London’s longest murals.

Brewers Peckham store manager Jimmy Thomson was delighted to help by donating over 150 litres of Albany Paint to the community project. The Peckham store were blown away by the enthusiasm of Bee Urban’s Barnaby Shaw as his team strove to overcome the negative image created about the estate, seeking instead to highlight a very different message. 

The 9th hexagon on the wall of Brandon Estate, highlighted in this article, is a very special art piece. The hexagon, designed by the women’s group, ‘Women Make Art,’ is in memory of the women who can remember the area in the 1960’s and 70’s, recognising and supporting women’s daily struggles through time and encouraging women to continue to "stand up for your rights" to overcome the gender inequalities still exists in today's society. 

A large Henry Moore sculpture currently residing in the middle of the Brandon Estate can also be depicted in the mural, pictured here covered in polka dots, a suggestion by one of the charities budding artists. During this time, the estate was also home to a lido and a Rastafarian temple. The temple was established after a visit by Bob Marley to the properties of St Agnes Place during a trip in the 1970’s. Four converted terrace houses were home to a well-equipped social programme who organised a lively youth football tournament on the AstroTurf pitch behind the temple, a tribute to the game of football Bob Marley had loved and played several years prior. The games were accompanied by live music and traditional street food! 

Bob Marley’s visit had a profound effect on the community and the artists tried to encapsulate his visit by cleverly applying a double meaning to the quote "Stand up for your rights" which paid tribute to the artists famous lyric in the song ‘Get Up, Stand Up,’ that led from the path to the portrait of his head in the clouds.

Despite the two iconic establishments - the temple and the lido, being long gone, it is clear that they both played such an iconic part in the history of the area that the women who designed this hexagon felt inspired to forever capture the buildings as a part of the park.   

The 'Women Make Art' organisation are an award winning arts and mental health charity run by, and for, adults with experience of mental health conditions. They believe that utilising the medium of artistic expression as a means of therapy have incredible positive impacts on mental health and Brewers are proud to support their cause on this artistic endeavour.