“…it will be our main aim to make bermondsey a fit place to live in… we will do what is possible to cleanse, repair, rebuild and beautify it, and to make it a city of which all citizens can be proud. Bermondsey is our home and your home. We will strive to make it a worthy home for all of us. “
(bermondsey labour party campaign literature 1922)
Inspired by ada salter’s establishment of the beautification committee in southwark in the 1920s, the exhibition delves into aspects of togetherness, thinking of art and nature as a communitarian, aesthetic project; cultivating and nurturing new forms of representation, taking some particular or unique constituents to explore shared aspects of human experience.
The common, with its flowerbeds, weeds and non-natives, a field of pollen and scent permeates our everyday city routine. In the ‘lungs of london’*, our vital green spaces, we reach towards a state of peace and equilibrium.
Beneath the rustle of leaves, gust and squall, harmony is within reach. Seedlings establish themselves amongst concrete cracks, blistered tarmac, strewn over soil and rubble. What common, whose garden? The garden I and the common we. The chatter of the common creates and rearranges a seasonal, collective unconscious.
About the bermondsey artists’ group
The bermondsey artists’ group was formed out of ideals of inclusion, community and a desire to exist for the common good, holding the firm belief that art should be for everyone. We are a membership led contemporary art space formed in 1983 by founder and local artist ron henocq. Henocq brought artists together from across rotherhithe and bermondsey, together forming a voice for all local artists in the borough.
In 1984 the group rescued an unused café building in southwark park and transformed it into an art gallery. For many members of the community, this new gallery was their first introduction to the visual arts. For local artists it provided the opportunity to exhibit their work in a venue that was both supportive and willing to take risks. Excited by the new space, the members encouraged their neighbours and other artists in the locality to participate in the gallery’s activities. Without realising it, this natural approach to working within the local community broke down barriers. The exhibition programme originally combined thematic group exhibitions, solo exhibitions and exhibitions developed with and for local community.
Throughout 2017 we celebrate our stunning location and history within southwark park with the renovation of the gallery’s ever-popular garden and launch of cgp london’s new public art commissions by alec finlay and the bothy project out in our garden, southwark park and our local neighbourhoods.
This year of art in our environment has been made possible due to crucial support from tesco’s bags of help, groundwork, cleaner greener safer, riva, the finnis scott trust, southwark council, the bothy project and artists bobby niven and alec finlay.