A bright Sunday in May provided the perfect conditions for our first North London walk of the year as twenty mural aficionados enjoyed a leisurely afternoon stroll in the spring sunshine from Dalston Junction to Highbury.
Our first stop was Ray Walker’s Hackney Peace Carnival mural from 1985. Ruth Miller spoke about the mural and its historical context and of Ray’s untimely death at the age of 39 and its completion by his wife Ann and friend Mick Jones. We were very pleased to have representatives of Open Dalston join us on the walk, and look forward to working with them to ensure the preservation of this important piece of public art.
Our next mural is a bit of a mystery. Hidden away in Shacklewell this wonderful little domestic scene depicts a family sat around a gas fire. Painted directly on to the brick end of a row of cottages we’ve so far been unsuccessful in discovering anything about this mural whatsoever. If any of our readers can help us we would be delighted to hear from you!
After the mystery mural we visited a mural that is no more. The artwork that used to adorn the Mayville Community Centre in Newington Green was recently destroyed as part of the buildings redevelopment. After passing around pictures of the lost work we spoke of the need to document, protect and preserve as many of London’s fast disappearing murals as possible.
Our next stop was Carolyn Beale’s graceful trompe l’oeil on the gable end of a house in Wolsey Road. Created in 1981 this beautifully executed and intriguing work is still in a fair condition and we couldn’t resist the opportunity to celebrate the anniversary of its creation with birthday hats and party poppers!
Next another mural which has been largely obliterated, the Mayville Cyclists and Tudor Riders. Sadly most of this work has been painted over, the only remnant being a very amusing scene of a dog chasing a pig. Again, we were reminded of the fragility of public art; but cheered that at least this time the pig had got away!
Finally, our last artwork of the day, a beautiful depiction of urban plant and animal life overlooking Highbury Grove School. We were very fortunate in having Diana Leary, one of the artists who created this mural with us on the walk and she was able to give a fascinating account of its creation and insights into the muralists art, as well as some hair-raising but very funny stories of the dangers muralists face when creating works of art at the top of scaffolding!
We’d like to thank everyone who joined us for the afternoon and we hope to see you again soon. We have more walks and events planned for the summer months, details of which can be found on the website, our facebook page or sign up for our newsletter here