This initiative to build up a series of outdoor artworks accessible to all, goes from the southeast edge of Poplar where the River Lea feeds into the Thames, across to the other side of the now landfilled site of The East India Docks, once a massive complex now reduced to a small Nature Reserve. The theme of reclaiming public space for all, has ironically resulted in some of the artworks being destroyed in a fury of redevelopment.
On a stormy New Year’s Eve we facilitated Abduction by rising star Trust Icon, on a hoarding blocking access to the River Lea, Madonna being unable to take Mowgli any further.
Making what is often perceived small into something that cannot be missed, has inspired many of our interventions. Advertising hoardings dominate the public space, consumer directives to buy this, buy into that, so we wanted to offer an alternative to this visual stimulus. How better to get the point across that Poplar is an overlooked glacial trough between the shining corporate towers of Canary Wharf and the freshly laundered flatpack of Stratford’s Olympic Park reshuffle? Let’s try painting a giant chihuahua on a nine-storey wall, facing Barking and adjacent to The Isle of Dogs, just down the road from the giant Spratt’s biscuit factory, no longer catering to our canine friends, an early warehouse conversion into the now ubiquitous luxury apartments. This also also involved our first collaboration with tarmac stencillist Roadsworth, who created a homage to the elliptical notation style of composer Cornelius Cardew who was killed in a hit and run in east London.
CHANGING SPACES from the series Responses to Locations in Transition
Lansbury and Aberfeldy estates, and City Island, Poplar, London E14
Garry Hunter for Fitzrovia Noir
Cate Halpin with Knight of the Hunter
Ben Wilson AKA Chewing Gum Man
Irony and Boe
Paul DON Smith
Painting, photography, stencilled and freehand text
December 2012 – August 2014
“ My daughter loves the dog, we walk past it every day, really puts Poplar on the map.”
Dan Jones, local resident, Brownfield Estate, Poplar, London E14