Deepa Chudasama from Holden House is one of six artists showing at APT Gallery, 6 Creekside, in a show titled Jam Tomorrow. The show runs till 1st April and is open Thurs-Sun, 12-5pm, and opens late on 30 March till 9pm for SLAM Last Friday.
Untitled and Hula by Deepa Chudasama
Stephen Mason (Wilshaw House) is showing with four others in Paraphernalia which opens tonight at the Utrophia Project Space on the high street, and runs till 28th March. Look out for the Art Dispenser from which you can buy some 'art' made by the Paraphernaliens for a quid.
The five 'Paraphernaliens' are in their final year at East London University, but three live locally. Stephen grew up in Reginald Road, attending Tidemill Primary and Deptford Green School.
Talking of Tidemill...
Last Saturday, a handful of locals picked up an invitation to an event at the old school, now being inhabited by Newbould Security. For one night only (6-8pm), with the title Project Zero: Changing of the Guards, the 'Newbould Collective' presented work about childhood, "in keeping with the former use of the school". Says the blurb, "The presentation investigates the use of unused spaces within our communities and in transition remains sympathetic to the history and memories associated to these buildings."
The curious locals, arriving separately, were met with varying degrees of inquisition at the security gate then ushered in to a friendly environment in one of the school's halls. There they join Newbould Collective's friends and followers, to look at art work by the six resident artists. We're told that musical entertainment commenced at 6.30, with a jolly rap artist rallying the audience for participation in a manner verging on the evangelical.
The artists and performers are living in the school (with a classroom each to work and live in) and were selected from Newbould's waiting list of creative types, who pay a 'license fee' rather than 'rent' (we wonder if they pay council tax?). It seems they were all really nice and the work wasn't bad, but the locals sensed an almost imperceptable air of a cult, as though they had walked into an Alpha course at Bear Church. One described feeling a heavy sense of betrayal, whilst being cajoled to "Smile!" by the friendly alien newcomers.
The blurb goes on, "Newbould Guardians is one of London's leading vacant property protection companies specialising in using disused buildings across the capital. We pride ourselves on the ability to create affordable living for London's artists. We believe that increasing a town's art can have an invaluable effect on an area....We believe that art builds community and we hope that these guardians will have a lasting effect on the people, culture and art within Deptford."
Cough, splutter...You might well ask, what the **** do we need more bloody artists for? Haven't we got enough already?!!! We hear that Anthony, who runs and manages the studios and spaces at the Old Police Station (and soon, Resolution Studios) had been looking at the school and its potential to house 100 artists (there is certainly room enough). Another studio manager was invited to look at the building but declined. It's not clear why they did not want the building, but it may have something to do with the temporary nature and uncertain future of the space, though that has usually not stopped artists studio groups in the past. However, it seems only a couple of people were approached, and it was certainly not made public (perhaps for fear of squatters). So instead, Lewisham Council has chosen to bring in some people from Camden and house only six artists, despite the fact that other artists groups in the area are soon to lose their work spaces which are scheduled this year to be developed.
The organisers of Deptford X (which kicks off in July), are hoping that they might be able to use the large spaces at Tidemill, since such spaces are in extremely short supply. If Newbould are able to open their doors for longer than two hours without frisking the visiting public at the gate, we'll eat our (rather cynical) hat.
Local artists searching for space must be sick as parrots. Many would say that Lewisham Council's regeneration plans in Deptford have parasitically fed on the "artistic buzz" created by the existing art community to make themselves look good and attract the developers, whilst giving very little back. Inviting Newbould to look after the school is a bewildering and hurtful step.
Meanwhile, someone has broken into the school keeper's house (between the school and Frankham House)...Nice work, Newbould Guardians!