A Tale of Two Southwarks is an exhibition of oil paintings, photographs and mixed media works by Suchi Chidambaram and John Pheasant.
Southwark's 'two cities' - its glittering redevelopments with their thriving business sector on the one hand and the pockets of poverty and deprivation on the other - are well documented. The inspiration for the exhibition is the incisive report, 'A Tale of Two Southwarks, A needs analysis of the London Borough of Southwark, to which Roast's Founder, Iqbal Wahhab, referred Suchi early in 2017.
Southwark 'is a product both of its rich history and a modern makeover.' In forging its future, exclusion and isolation are seen as dangers, whilst 'those most likely to feel a high sense of satisfaction are those who feel they belong to their neighbourhood'.
Inspired by the borough's diversity, contrasts and challenges, Suchi, an oil painter, and John, a photographer, set out to capture the two Southwarks visually for an exhibition specifically designed for the space in Roast in Borough Market. Their ambition is to encourage visitors to Roast to reect on the borough's diversity and contrasts, to engage with its challenges and, hopefully, to be part of the solution and to oer support to Southwark Giving.
The exhibition comprises oil paintings on canvas, photographs printed on aluminium, and mixed media, jointly produced works which combine photography and oil painting to create images which draw attention to the diversity and contrasts which make the two Southwarks.
In selecting content for the exhibition, Suchi and John have sought to depict a number of the contrasts which underlie the two Southwarks, including:
- iconic old and new architecture
- modern business areas and auence juxtaposed with homelessness
- demolition and regeneration
- ethnic and cultural diversity
- the vibrancy of, and enthusiastic local support given to, community events
- the historic and continuing traditions of art and entertainmen
- youth and age
- Borough and East Street markets
The oil paintings are based on photographs, taken by both Suchi and John, of places and people in the Borough. The photographic content includes multiple exposure images which capture some of the movement and energy of life in the Borough as well as creating images, some used to create mixed media works with the addition of oil painting, which have a more dynamic quality rather than being simply documentary.
Needless to say, the Borough is so vast and full of amazing locations, sights and communities that it is not possible to do justice to all aspects in one fell swoop. Suchi and John therefore plan to introduce new content to the exhibition as it proceeds over the next few months.