If you visit the Brixton Windmill Gardens over the next few days, you’ll see Camila Cardenosa busy at work adding finishing touches to the Hands On Windmill Gardens Community Mural. She’ll welcome you with a smile, offer you a paintbrush if you’re willing to give it a go, and let you know that it’s easy and you don’t have to worry about making a mistake. All of these being things you want to hear when putting a brush to work; because it’s scary, and you’re obviously no good at this, and you’re bound to make a big mess (that’s what everyone says).
But Camila’s got a friendly convincing way about her, that will have you painting away in no time.
Columbian by origin, Camila is currently studying Graphic Design at Central Saint Martins and her focus is on examining how graphics can contribute to giving people a better sense of place and identity within public spaces. This mural is part of her final year project and has turned out to be an amazing collaboration, bringing together the Friends of Windmill Gardens and the members of the local community of all age groups.
While designing the mural, Camila and Stephen Lawlor, a visual artist and Education Officer for the Brixton Windmill, conducted several workshops with local schools and adult groups, so that the mural could be designed around the history of the windmill, how the local community relates to the it and their hopes for the gardens in the years to come. The final design for the mural comes from the fonts, imagery and text that emerged from these workshops, and added value has been worked into it so it can be used as a visual aid to tell the story of the miller and the historic windmill.
The mural is longer than it is taller, and has been designed in such a way that the parts closer to the ground are highly illustrative, thus giving younger people a chance to play an important role in the painting. At the same time, the fact that it is being hand painted ensures that everyone can be involved.
It has taken months of coordination, unpredictable weather, many painstaking hours of painting, and the ideas and efforts of over 200 Brixtonians, for Camila and her team to bring this project together. And finally the finish line is near.
The Hands On mural will be officially launched on Monday 6 May with a special celebration and everyone’s invited. It isn’t every day that a mural is created from scratch, using such a democratic process (albeit some artistic direction from Camila). It will definitely be interesting to see in the months ahead, how the project and the mural itself impacts the community around it.
To see images of Camila and the others at work, check out the Hands On Windmill Gardens website. A project that started out with one idea, this has grown into one that has drawn many in.
For a video of another recently completed mural please see our video of the Great Wave Mural restoration
For information on last years nearby Windmill Mural please see here
For information on nearby Brixton murals please see here