Thursday, 29 August 2013

I Had a Dream


I drive through the Aylesbury Estate every week on the way to visit my boyfriend in Camberwell, it is considered one of the most notorious estates in the United Kingdom. In the 80's British Prime Minister Tony Blair chose to make his first speech here, to demonstrate that his government would care for the poorest elements of society and the estate is often used as a typical example of urban decay.

The estate, designed by architect Hans Peter Trenton in 1963, was an attempt by planners to house some of London's poorest families. The 2,700 dwellings were designed to house a population of roughly 10,000 residents, making it one of the largest public housing estates in Europe. Two thirds of residents are black or of a national minority heritage (Wikipedia).

The estate went through a period of decline in the 1980s and the area is now considered to be in the bottom category on the ACORN classification, signifying an area of extremely high social disadvantage. Crime is highly prevalent in parts of the estate with reported crime taking place every four hours.

I took these snaps as I passed by this paradoxically brutal realist and empathic installation; I think it is the best public art in London and I cannot find any attribution to the artist. Pop down and check it out if you're a Londoner its on Thurlow Road. (See snapshots below).

The simple semantic shift from 'have' to 'had' is a reminder of defeated aspiration in all of us, as well as a call for vigilance against the inequality of opportunity. Although, this is a great piece of art, it doesn't have a responsibility to represent the area truthfully or fairly and many stories from the residents are of community and resilience.





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1 comment:

  1. Hi Richard,
    These are very powerful photos. i just wrote a piece on photographer Susan Berger, who sought out all the streets named in honor of Martin Luther King in the U.S. A similar "dream."
    https://www.oh-i-see.com/blog/2014/02/20/artistic-expression-in-search-of-a-dream/

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