Art co-ordinators Lucy Whitford and Miriam Burke look back at the exhibitions which have brought the walls of Woodberry Down’s Redmond Community Centre to life. The creative duo discuss their favourite works, and their hopes for the future of the community space.
The centre is run by Manor House Development Trust (MHDT), an organisation which prides itself on supporting local people to achieve their aspirations. The non-elitist exhibition space is one of the many ways in which the Redmond Community Centre does just that. The venture supports the practice of local artists by providing a place to showcase and sell their work, demonstrating that talented people live nearby.
With artistic backgrounds themselves, Miriam and Lucy know all too well the challenges that come with being a creative. Lucy is a practising ceramicist, sculptor and print maker with a solo show and a number of group exhibitions under her belt and once-sculptor-now-facilitator, Miriam, is currently undertaking a PHD in how to use art to engage people with environmental change. Both believe that the space, “offers people a way into art, a chance to have their creations appreciated, and an opportunity to inspire others to create.” A number of exhibiting artists come from nearby arts group Haringey Arts, although the space is open to all local artists, and you don’t have to be a professional or own your own studio to exhibit here.
Super Future Kid
Exhibited: Nov – Dec 2014
Super Future Kid has a deep fascination with the perception of the world as seen through the innocent and imaginative minds of children. Her work explores themes of spirituality, myth and curiosity and often uses iconic imagery to get her message across. Her oil paintings playfully juxtapose two unlikely things such as an old man on a skateboard in Dusk Rider. “They were intriguing, puzzling, a bit sinister and mind-opening” explains Lucy, “You felt like they had a story but you weren’t sure what it was…it was up to the viewer to decide.” Her work is imaginative and uncanny, operating in another dimension; a playground of the future. “I really like the colours, composition and how original they are,” says Lucy.
Exhibited: Oct – Nov 2014
Local multi-media artist Aiste G takes her inspiration from the shapes and patterns found in nature. Using these patterns as a beginning, she creates detailed drawings in an illustrative style, and uses unusual materials to reflect light and illuminate her work. She took an innovative approach to exhibiting at the Redmond Centre, curating work specifically to fit the entire space. “She really liked the space and was interested in the ceiling, which is made from Walthamstow Dog Track” explains
Miriam. “She wanted to use the height of the room in her work, to encourage visitors to look up. By creating a set of origami birds hanging from the ceiling she succeeded. Her approach was playful, and colourful and the work was texturally interesting.” Aiste also approached the show in an entrepreneurial way, selling small felt objects at her private view.
Surya de Wit
Exhibited: Jan – Mar 2015
Surya’s work was inspired by her travels around Bolivia, where she began to re-consider social normality and expectations. Her work explores the folklore of different cultures, toying with the idea of old and new worlds. Her fabric works feature crochet and embroidery in sympathetic compositions. By mixing the domestic and banal with mythology and the ‘other worldly’ she presents the viewer with work that sits socially within the bizarre and strange. Miriam recalls how two ladies spent a long time stood discussing the meaning of ‘Floral Disease’, “I heard them say ‘Why does she have a cow’s head not a human head.’ They were engaged in discussion, interpreting what the meaning could be and how it related to them.” Miriam and Lucy enjoy watching the viewers engage with the work: “It’s great to see people search for their own meanings.”
Exhibited: Mar – Apr 2015
Director of Haringey Arts, Carolina Khouri, produced a short pop-up show to coincide with the fourth anniversary of The Great East Tohoku Earthquake in Japan. Inspired by traditional and modern Japanese and Western Haiku, each of her large abstract paintings relate to different poems, serving as artistic interpretations of the written word. Miriam enjoyed the way that Caroline’s work uses a
palette of pink, blue, grey, black and white, “Her limited palette created works which were really beautiful and calming somehow – strangely peaceful,” she reflects. “Each piece was framed behind glass so your reflection played a part in the work too.”
Exhibited: Apr – May 2015
Jason believes that our faces say things that our words cannot; he aims to communicate the subtle nuances that unlock an understanding and an insight into the emotion that all too often goes unsaid. His ‘Haggard Faces’ deliberately pervert perfection, making it impossible not to reflect on the way beauty itself is marketed to us. Visitors to the centre really enjoyed his work, “People responded well to his expressive paintings. Despite colour, scale, light and shadow being exaggerated beyond the norm, people could relate to his work. They could recognise the personalities behind the faces; characters were identifiable at the same time as being strange,” explains Miriam. As a result there were a number of enquiries about the work.
“The plants become like a stage to the work.”QUOTE: Lucy Whitford
Exhibited: Jul – Aug 2015
Contemporary abstract artist Sonelle Goddard is the first Woodberry Down resident to exhibit at the centre. Her practice investigates dream states and organic matter through abstract painting, drawing and installation. “Sonelle has a very sensitive use of materials, she really trusts her media and allows it to do its own thing,” says Miriam. Lucy elaborates, “You can tell that she really loves paint and has a great relationship with it. She gets lost in the experience of painting and mark-making.” You only have to look at the way that the colours bleed into one to understand what they mean; the viewer too can easily find themselves lost in the fusion of colours.
Helena Crabtree and Flävia M Dent
Life After Architecture
Exhibited: Sep – Oct 2015
Artists Crabtree and Dent produce work featuring site-specific urban environments. Whilst they nearly always photograph together and often capture the same moments, their results are always diverse. They focus on elements within architecture and often housing estates, taking a poetic approach to photography. “They expose the beauty in overlooked things, forms and architecture” explains Lucy. “Their exhibition points a lens at the Woodberry Down Estate and the regeneration process, really zooming into specific details to create micro-worlds. It’s nice to be able to exhibit something which speaks to local people.”
Lucy and Miriam have big ambitions for the future of the centre, believing it can play an important role in supporting artists by commissioning works and putting in place the resources for workshops and curator collaboration. Having had support herself within her practice, Lucy is keen to give back to the local community. She is particularly keen to open the space up to young people and art students, “to get young people involved and connected.” Miriam agrees, “It would be great if we could give them a voice through art.” The space is entirely inclusive for all artists, young and old, and the pair welcome applicants for future exhibitions.
For more information please contact Lucy Whitford at: Lucy.Whitford@mhdt.org.uk
The Redmond Community Centre, Kayani Avenue, London N4 2HF
020 8802 7580