New Art for town hall
A striking piece of public art has gone on display outside Walworth Town Hall celebrating the plants, animals and architecture that are part of the area’s rich and diverse history.
Created by London-based artist Kerry Lemon, ‘Drawing out Walworth’ is a 95-metre illustrated hoarding made from aluminum. It was commissioned by Southwark Council, and supported by Elephant Park developer Lendlease, to protect the Grade 2-listed building, while providing a place of interest for locals and visitors to enjoy. It is expected to be in place for five to seven years while the Town Hall is redeveloped.
Kerry started work on the project in February and, with no background knowledge of the area, her first task was to familiarise herself with Walworth.
“I work on public arts projects internationally so I’m well used to starting from scratch and working hard to learn as much as I can about an area,” explains Kerry. “I was researching the area from March to May this year (2018) and, as always, I started by exploring the history, culture and landscape of the site. I can then start to identify what makes the place unique and choose what it is that should be celebrated through the artwork.”
Kerry’s drawings were digitally printed on to film and then applied to thin aluminum panels to make the impressive hoarding. Visitors will be able to admire its many historical references – from the poppy, used as a poignant reminder of those who signed up at the Town Hall to serve their country during World War I, to images of peaches, apples and grapes that were grown in the local market and fed Londoners from the Roman times through to the 1700s.
“It’s really important to me that the work I create is genuinely research led, and celebrates the local area,” explains Kerry. “My favourite parts are the elephant, lion and giraffe – there to highlight the historical Royal Surrey Zoological Gardens, which rivalled the Regent’s Park Zoo. I enjoy the surreal nature of them when juxtaposed with the local garden birds, butterflies and insects from the area. I hope their inclusion will provoke joy and encourage people to find out more about their local history.”