Art without Hype

Went to the artist Lucy Harrison’s art exhibition about Lea Bridge Road today what with the opening of Lea Bridge Station an’ all and the building of tower blocks on a flood-plain. The venue was a dive and to be fair, faces demolishment. Even so, have some respect for your art and for the local residents. The steps up to the exhibition were neither disabled friendly nor for ancients.
Most of the display was of enlarged photographs of photos held at Vestry House Museum of poverty-stricken “Bungalow people”, with other photos of factory abandonment.  Hardly joyful. The A4 type-written accounts from local residents dated from 1997.
I say no more.
I walked around the area and smelt the stink of struggling businesses and wind -blown rubbish; saw evidence of residents competing with small industrial outlets for ownership of  grey unlevelled pavements and paint-stained tarmac. Unwanted furniture adorned once pretty front gardens.  Metallic graffiti -sloshed factory shutters smack of Thatcher’s crumbling Britain thirty years ago. That was today, a Sunday when there are less vans and lorries but the same road-mess. In all the dump of a view, I spied a new Cash ‘n’ Carry, Bulgarian-staffed, presumably Bulgarian owned. “No chicken peas.”
When the builders move in at the end of Burwell Road the estate with  a past glory will become the slum in high-rise shadows.
That past glory about the Burwell end of Lea Bridge Road is not investigated let alone celebrated in Harrison’s exhibition. I was left de-moralized as though only a moving train and new-builds can raise the area and make it significant in the Borough. This is my home. I have lived here for forty years. When the funded art project started I didn’t barge in and tell it like it is  as my home streets are precious in my memory and not to be shared in an old unfriendly, non-community aware factory. I can blog though.



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