Passport to Pimlico: May Day Art Day in Churchill Gardens Estate

Passport to Pimlico: May Day Art Day in Churchill Gardens Estate has now been published and is available to view as an ebook and print on-demand (ISBN: 978-1-908339-13-3).

The publication documents a one-day collaborative art event, held on 5 May 2014 in Pimlico’s largest housing estate, featured over 60 artists. The event and the publication were created by first year CCW PhD student Lana Locke, supported by CCW Student Initiative funding.

Elaborating on the background to the event, Locke says:

‘The title Passport to Pimlico came from the 1949 Ealing comedy of the same name, in which residents of Pimlico find an ancient document which allows them to declare themselves independent from the rest of Great Britain, its laws and governance.

Following the themes of the film, the intention of the Passport to Pimlico event was to offer participants, residents and visitors an ideal of freedom through the creation of an independent art state within the community. It also presented an opportunity for us as art practitioners and researchers to consider what rules and regulations we should seek to resist, within the context of art practice, research and education.

Held on the May Day Bank Holiday, I invited content that referenced both traditional (spring/pagan) and political May Day themes to reflect that. I saw within these twin threads further layers of meaning about community rebellion and the celebration of the eruption of spring following the sterility and containment of winter.

The “initiative” was a gift. I make sculptures and installations using found objects and appropriated spaces. In a similar way I was very lucky to find and appropriate the funding, location and collaborators for this event. I deliberately described myself as the event “creator” rather than “curator” as I wanted the work to happen as freely as possible on the day. It grew organically through the artists understanding the idea, generously getting involved and bringing others in, too – whether current students, alumni, tutors or invited external artists.

This generosity expanded to the location: Team Churchill in Churchill Gardens Estate allowed us to take over for free a public square and community hall within the largest housing estate in Pimlico; the adults and children visiting the event saw, heard, tasted and experienced everything for free; the activity of art allowed the local participants a freedom beyond the usual remit of the Hall and Square, and the Hall and Square allowed the artists a freedom beyond the usual remit of their practice.’

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