Portobello Wall, Heart of the Community

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Heart of the Community; celebrating people and events that shaped Portobello’s history. A series of photomural panels spanning 100m of wall in Portobello Road North, London W10. When I first took this brief, it seemed a daunting task. Indeed my researches confirmed that I could only scratch the surface, though I hope they are interesting scratches.. Rather than celebrating the great and the good, I focused on the extra-ordinary acts of ordinary people who rose above the challenges life dealt them - the devastation of war, the pain of injustice, poverty, prejudice - to create something of value for us all. Sadly I couldn’t include them all and explanations are brief. For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/PortobelloWall/photos/

A lot of history happened behind this wall, starting with Portobello Farm that gave the road its name. So I decided to open up the wall, showing different events in a time-space continuum. I’ve also had fun playing with the tradition of History Painting; the epic sweep and exaggerated perspective. I’ve incorporated the styles, and in some cases the work of artists, of a particular period. There are some visual jokes too – enjoy.

I would like to extend special thanks to: Eddie Adams, Maggie Tyler and Sue Snyder who provided photographs and advised me on my research; the Local History Archive at Kensington and Chelsea Library; Open Age Tuesday painting group; Bevington School, teachers and students who contributed. I’ve used many photographs in addition to my own and have painted and tinted lots that came to me in black and white. They came from a wide range of sources, so can’t name them all here – they’re on the above facebook page and Heart of the community photo stream. I’ve tried to credit all the images I’ve used. However, there are omissions, for which I offer my apologies. If you are an author who is not credited or know people in the pictures who are not acknowledged, do get in touch and I will update the information.

This installation was commissioned by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Please click for the credits for the panels.