For the first time since their removal from Parliament Square the 2 ‘Peace Plinths’ will be re-united and unveiled as the centre piece of Art Below’s ‘Peace Project’ opening to the public at London’s Gallery Different (Off Tottenham Court Road) on 12th October for one week. This exhibition features the work of celebrated artists including Alison Jackson, Ben Eine, Billy Childish, Kennard Phillipps, Sarah Maple, and Inkie.
The gallery show will open with a private view on the 11th October. Proceeds of selected works including the plinths will go to The Halabja Community Playground Project in Northern Iraq.
Selected works in the show will also form part of Art Below’s billboard exhibition at Regent’s Park tube station throughout October. This coincides with the Frieze Art Fair (11th -14th October) in Regent’s Park.
Since January 2011, Art Below have been working with peace campaigner and founder of the peace plinths Maria Gallastegui calling on artists across the world to put their heads and hearts into creating art which carries the message of ending war on the planet and achieving the vision of peace.
In February 2011 Schoony, the special effects artist who made prosthetics for many major films including Rambo stepped forward with his sculpture depicting child soldiers sprayed with the words Dulce Et Decorum Est – words from Wilfred Owen’s World War I poem. Schoony said: ‘Sending children to war is horrific and highlighting this injustice is really important to me.’
A year before that street artist T.W.A.T featured stencil work on the plinth to bring attention to the role a British mass outlet superstore chain plays in funding and supporting regimes around the world.
The two Peace Plinths have bared witness to both turbulent and exciting times. Allowed to remain during the Royal Wedding last year, but removed for the Olympics. Art Below organised for one of the plinths known as ‘Number 10’ to be shipped to Los Angeles, where it was unveiled at the opening night of The BritWeek T4C Artists Competition at the historic Farmers and Merchants Building on 12 April 2012.
On 3rd May 2012 The Plinth known as ‘The Tardis’ was seized from Parliament Square and has been held in police custody, now to be released for ‘The Peace Project’ exhibition.
ARTISTS FEATURING WORK IN ART BELOW’S PEACE PROJECT
Alison Jackson Billy Childish Ben Eine Cathy Lomax Harry Pye Johan Wahlstrom Kennard Phillipps Philip Levine Sarah Maple
PEACE PLINTH ARTISTS
Emma Stoner Paul Smith (DON) Schoony T.W.A.T
Peace Plinths: The Peace Plinths were built by peace campaigner, Maria Gallastegui in response to the SOCPA (Serious Organised Crime and Police Act), passed in 2005. The Act enforced strict restrictions on protests in the vicinity of Westminster.
Maria built the first Peace Plinth, ‘Number 10’, to the exact dimensions stipulated by SOCPA, 3meters long by 2meters tall. The plinth adopted its name from its iconic door, made by Maria, which is an exact copy of that belonging to 10 Downing Street. Since November 2009 Maria used the plinth as a base and home within the city’s centre. She went on to build a second plinth, aptly named ‘The Tardis’. (3meters long by 2meters tall.) Initiated by Art Below, the plinths have provided a powerful platform from which to exhibit art in the heart of London’s political centre over the last four years.
Especially for The Peace Project exhibition, the interior of ‘The Tardis’ will be recreated so the visiting public can go inside and experience what it would be like to be on vigil within the square.
Art Below: Art Below is an independent public arts organisation that gives artists access to advertising space to showcase their work in the London Underground. Founded in 2006 by brothers Ben and Simon Moore, they have developed a strong portfolio of public art exhibits, often capturing the attention of the world’s press. Such stories include Banksy’s poster display at London Bridge tube,the Amy Winehouse tribute poster at Camden Town tube, and Charles Bronson poster display at Angel tube. ‘Directional art with an unorthodox backdrop lends Art Below its fresh, original edge that’s currently causing a creative awakening amongst commuters’
Maria Gallastegui: Longtime resident of the East pavement of Parliament Square, 53-year-old Maria Gallastequi has spent a lifetime campaigning for peace and opposing all forms of warfare.
Maria is most widely known for her 24 hour, tented vigil in protest against the UK’s involvement in armed conflict. She occupied the heart of London’s political centre, living in Parliament Square for six years. On 27
April 2012, Maria Gallastegui, lost her legal battle to continue her peaceful vigil within Parliament square.
The Halabja Community Playground Project: Halabja is a Kurdish Town in Northern Iraq that sits roughly 8-10 miles from the Iranian border. In March 2012 it was finally recognised, within a court of law, that Halabja had fallen victim to a horrendous genocide in 1988. Iraqi planes dropped gas canisters on the town and surround- ing area. Devasted by bombs, artillery fire, and chemical weapons, at least 5,000 people died and a further 7,000 were injured or suffered the effects of long term illness. The majority of victims were Kurdish civilians, including children. The suffering in this area still continues to be felt today.
Since 2009 the Halabja Community Playground Project have been raising money and resources in the UK and then taking specialist expertise and volunteers out to Halabja to empower the local community to create their own playground. The Halabja Community Playground Project forge relationships with the children and adults. In Halabja, so together they can build a safe place to play, supporting the next generation.
Alison Jackson: BAFTA award winner Alison Jackson is a contemporary artist exploring the cult of celebrity through the medium of lookalikes. By choreographing scandalous scenarios Jackson manipulates fantasy and reality, presenting a voyeuristic opportunity to pry into the private lives of others.
Infiltrating the platforms of TV, Internet, Press, and books, Jackson is a commentator on the growing
phenomenon of contemporary popular culture.
Billy Childish: Regarded by some as the most prolific painter, poet and songwriter of his generation, artist Billy Childish is a cult figure with an international following throughout Europe, America and Japan.
Childish was born in Kent and initially refused entry to art school on leaving secondary education. Diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 28 Childish went on to use his art to explore worldly themes such as war, history
and social protest.
Ben Eine: Ben Flynn, a.k.a. EINE, shot to international fame when David Cameron presented one of his works to President Obama as a gift on his first official state visit, but is arguably more famous for ‘Alphabet Street’ – the shutters and murals he painted in his trademark colours and typography in Middlesex Street, London– described by The Times as ‘a street now internationally recognized as a living piece of art with direct links to The White House.’ Born 1970. London, England. Ben Eine is one of London’s most prolific and original street
artists who specialises in the central element of all graffiti – the form of letters.
Inkie: Inkie is one of the most notorious graffiti writers in UK history to emerge out of the 80’s Bristol scene. Painting alongside 3D and Banksy, coming 2nd in the 1989 World Street Art Championships, the Kingpin was
arrested as the head of 72 other writers in the UK’s largest ever Graffiti bust, Operation Anderson.
Kennard Phillipps: Peter Kennard (born 17 February 1949) is a London born and based photomontage artist and senior tutor in photography at the Royal College of Art. Seeking to reflect his involvement in the anti-Viet- nam War movement, he turned from painting to photomontage to better address his political views. He is best known for the images he created for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in the 1970s-80s. Because many of the left-wing organisations and publications he used to work with have disappeared, Kennard has turned to using exhibitions, books and the internet for his work.
Kennard has work in the public collections of several major London museums and the The Arts Council of England. He has his work displayed as part of Tate Britain’s permanent collection.
Sarah Maple: Maple was born in 1985 to an Iranian Muslim mother and English Christian raised father, and was raised as a Muslim. She studied Fine Art at Kingston University. In 2007 she won the ‘4 New Sensations’ competition, run by Channel 4 in conjunction with the Saatchi Gallery. The competition’s aim is ‘to find the most exciting and imaginative artistic talent in the UK’ from among art students graduating that year.
‘Meet the heir to Tracy Emin’s Throne…the best of the new young British artists’ The Independent on Sunday
Gallery Different: Located in the heart of Fitzrovia, London, Just off Tottenham Court Road, Gallery Different is a thriving contemporary art venue. The gallery comprises of 1800 square feet of exhibition space split over two floors. Notably, earlier this year Gallery Different hosted Johan Andersson’s Stolen Faces show, presenting the faces of “unheard outcasts”. A number of works were auctioned with estimated lots for £12,000-£15,000. 14 Percy Street, London W1T 1DR