IMAGE: Adjoa Wiredu
For three years now, I have been interviewing people, taking pictures and writing down some of my thoughts and experiences about Tottenham, the place I grew up in. To state that Tottenham is undergoing major changes would be an understatement. Last year I was writing about why campaigners are trying to halt proposed plans to demolish and rebuild large parts of the borough. The project is referred to as the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) – a 50/50 partnership between the Council and a private developer. But this is not another story about my perceptions of developments in the northeast London area. This is about my project, marigoldroadblog. Read more here.
IMAGE: Gal-dem via
The housing crisis is not only changing the landscape of London, it’s changing the faces which populate it, and pushing out low-income groups. Estates built for the working-class have become residential hotspots, prime land that can be easily sold off to build luxury flats and expensive artisan streets targeting moneyed residents. This shift is not gentrification, which limps along slowly— this new phenomenon is described by Anna Minton as “a new politics of space. Replacing the politics of class”. Whichever way you slice it, it’s no surprise that the poor still lose out. Read more here.
IMAGE: Adjoa Wiredu
Every evening a crowd of people appear and approach an ordinary-looking white van parked in Walthamstow. They form an orderly queue and wait patiently to be served. Volunteers dish out a cooked meal to each of them. This is the Christian Kitchen. Despite the name, some of the volunteers who work here are members of mosques and other local faith groups or have no faith at all. On a rotation, they each volunteer their time once a month or more, to cook for anyone that turns up. Read more here.
Youth provision has changed dramatically in the borough in recent years. Ask young people where to find the local youth centre and what sessions they run and you won’t get many answers. That’s because, since massive cuts starting in 2010, it has become harder to work out what services are being provided for young people in this area and where it’s all actually taking place. I’ve found that although there are youth sessions in the borough, it looks very different to what it once did. Read more here.
IMAGE: V&A via
* How did the Tottenham Takeover come about?
Tottenham Takeover was the final in a four-part series of Friday Lates that explored different London neighbourhoods, following Dalston, Peckham and Hackney Wick previously. This came out of discussions within our team about wanting to support and acknowledge different creative communities in London, highlighting both the talent and challenges faced. Questions of gentrification, local vs creative community etc. were all things to consider throughout the takeover series.
*What was the selection process – how did you decide what or who was going to be part of the evening?
The Tottenham Takeover was a mixture of an open call out to artists/designers in the area, as well as approaching specific projects we had a particular interest in. I very much wanted the evening to be representative of Tottenham as an area, rather than simply focusing on artists based in the area if this makes sense. This meant that we selected projects that took Tottenham as their influence, or made a comment on Tottenham in some way, rather than more abstracted works that were proposed. Read more here.
IMAGE: Adjoa Wiredu
Off the main high road at Bruce Grove, a grey nondescript alley is the only route leading to Stoneleigh Court. After a short walk down, it changes dramatically and soon becomes obvious that street artists frequent this path. Acid yellows, fiery reds, bruised purples and every colour you can imagine, sprayed directly onto bricks, shutters and concrete. For those familiar with the alley, it only takes a moment to recognise tags and crew names of locals and famous international artists who have paid a visit and left their mark. At the very end of the pathway, a tiny opening to a shop appears on your right; home to hundreds of spray cans and Billy Hussain – the owner of VIP Graffiti Paint. Read more here.
IMAGE: Nigel Cox
For a long time, Tottenham had one story. It’s been repeated over and over in various forms and constructs, but the gist is simple: rough. Then, with the riots in 2011, this pocket of north London got a new reputation: proper fucking rough. Ten years ago, I wanted to run from the horrific stigma that seemed to be crippling my community. But the reason I didn’t was that I remember firsthand how it used to be when things were completely different. My parents have told me stories of moving into the area in the early 1980s and finding it mostly full of elderly English couples. There was an M&S on the local high street and my mum couldn’t find yams or plantain, so she travelled to south London for her Ghanaian groceries – but it all changed quickly. By the time I was eight or nine, it was a mixed bag of cultures: Greeks, Turkish, West Indians and Africans, with shops selling everything from green chillies to cow foot. Music was a big part of being raised in Tottenham. I grew up in the 90s with the sounds of Jade, The Fugees and R Kelly blaring from cars so loud that I could hear it long before the car appeared and after it drove past. And although it was mildly irritating while revising for exams, I couldn’t wait for weekends, when the older teenagers next door would play UK garage on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Years later, when I moved to a quaint and eerily quiet part of west London, I would miss the noise pollution of my youth – sirens, music, loud laughing. Read more here.
After a 10-year silence, Bowie recently released a new song on his 66th birthday via the Internet. The single, entitled Where Are They Now, from the upcoming album The Next Day is a slower, more reflective side of the typical colourful stage persona we’ve grown accustomed to but it is still a classic step for Bowie, in his aptitude for surprising the public and raising the stakes. “He happens to be a pop star but I would say his impact is as an artist and cultural icon,” says Victoria Broackes, the co-curator of the David Bowie retrospective at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Bowie’s career spans a staggering 50 years and in that time he has proven a profound ability to reinvent and showcase his flamboyant facets—musician, performer, writer, actor, mime artist, record producer—a rare feat for very few artists in the business. In an exhibition on David Bowie’s career, the V&A was given unprecedented access to the artist’s archive. Read more here.
The very definition of art stems from the need to document progression and diverse interpretation. Art history lends leaps in the discovery of significant artistic movements, which develop new genres and analyses—accounting for change, understanding and life. In reaction to the rapid growth of communication, the most significant tool of the past century, the Internet, predestined a new wave. Belfast-based artist Thomas Robson peaks as a front-runner in a group of distinct emerging artists who interpret and challenge existing identified art. His work is not formed on a blank canvas; instead, he has the skill of interpreting the works of others. He uses bold colours and graphics to compose a multi-layered remix. ‘I call it collision art and it subverts and recontextualises the cultural meaning of images through aesthetic experimentation and manipulation, juxtaposing conflicting styles and elements. These are images which eschew jejune reductive readings, in order to invoke enhanced critical thinking in the viewer,’ says Robson. Read more here.