Bermondsey is bursting with talent of all shapes and sizes: dancers, musicians and bands, actors and even landscape gardeners! But, one of the jewels in Bermondsey's crown is the art produced by its local artists: paintings, sketches, installations and prints. From the often weird, wonderful and slightly etherial work displayed by Emin, Hirst and their friends at the White Cube on Bermondsey Street, to the pared down minimalism of its excellent micro-cousin at West Lane South. From the much more down to earth galleries and outreach projects displaying at CGP galleries in Southwark Park, to the wonderful world of the SoBo cafe gallery on Tower Bridge Road, where a warm welcome is guaranteed. Bermondsey, and indeed the London Borough of Southwark, is blessed with expressions of creativity in many forms.
The recent installation on the exterior wall of the Salmon Youth Centre on Old Jamaica Road, is much more challenging and controversial than some might expect from a centre run for and by Bermondsey young people. It is exciting, bold, proud and downright Bermondsey. Like a fisherman, it hooks you when you least expect it, and reels you in drawing you closer and closer to a deeper understanding of what is happening to you.
If the quiet bustle of young people outside of the centre most weeknights is anything to go by, an evening spent at the Salmon Youth Centre must be good one! As one of the pieces (created by art tutor in residence Eugene Ankomah with help from the young people) states, Salmon gives a 'place and purpose for young people': a noble goal indeed.
The work can be interpreted on a spectrum from thought provoking to quietly provocative. Young people have been affected in many ways by the spending of previous governments and the recession-based cuts of the current. This work needs to be seen and understood in these and other contexts, by Bermondsey Spa residents and those further afield.
Up there with the best exhibitions, this one is absolutely free. It can be viewed at any time of day or night; alone or with friends; on the way to work, college or when skipping or scootering along to nursery school. These Bermondsey young people have produced art that is not pretentious, and that sends a clear set of messages to the world around them.
Find out more at:
Salmon Youth Centre
43 Old Jamaica Road
Tel: 020 7237 3788