Cafe Gallery Projects Open Exhibition

Cafe Gallery Projects Open Exhibition (21 November to 9 December)

I entered Tommy Trinder, Ken Dodd and Mae West three stencilled text works to this Open, held at the Cafe Gallery Projects located in Southwark Park. And it was other text based works that I really took my eye - including Gangland Cafe by Andrew Lee, a cafe menu which listed items such as Cauliflower Ears, Black Eyed Peas, and Knuckle Sandwiches, comprising a black board, with movable white letters, the starkness and implied threat of this work contrasted with the lyrical word play - and also a number of stencilled boards by Richard Owen with phrases such as 'How Long Should You Stay ?

Tommy Trinder

Ken Dodd

Mae West

STREET RECIPES by Davina and Daniel

Campbell Works commissioned Davina and Daniel to create a work for the Cazenove Street Party held on 1 July in Stoke Newington.

The brief for the project, was to create a work that encouraged active participation and dialogue between artists and particpants, and amongst participants.

Davina and Daniel's Street Recipes invited local people to write or draw their favourite recipe. Once a recipe had been described, the prepared boards were laminated and distributed in the local area tied to a multitude of lamposts and trees.

A selection of recipes were typed up during the event, and a joint Campbell Works / Davina and Daniel publication is currently being planned.

I & ME TOO - Part Two - At Cubitt Studios and Gallery

This was the second part of the I & ME TOO project (part one was held earlier in June at Studio Voltaire). Students from Hackney Community College collaborated with artists Abigail Hunt & Kieren Hunt, Gabrielle O'Connor, Nina Jan Beier & Marie Jan Lund, and Davina Drummond in a series of workshops to orchestrate a series of participatory artworks which were presented to the public at Cubitt on Saturday 30 June.

As with the previous event at Studio Voltaire, the exact nature and form of the artworks were unknown until the completion of the weeks' workshops.

Abigail Hunt & Kieren Hunt invited the students to make posters about something they felt passionate about. Visitors to the Saturday event, were then invited to create posters which commented on the posters made by the students.

Students working with Gabrielle O'Connor made simple hand puppets, which were then used to voice thoughts that would normally be suppressed. During the workshop, Gabrielle drew attention to a thesis, which considers that artists use art, in a way similiar to how ventriloquists use puppets, as a tool to convey ideas and thoughts. A video of each student 'speaking' through their puppet was shown at the event, and a video booth constructed for visitors to similarily use the puppets to say the 'unsayable'.

Davina Drummond worked with the students to create a 'perfect' romantic text message. During the event, the students presented my favourite activity. Having bought a number of two piece jigsaws, people were invited to find the other person in the gallery who possessed the missing, and of course, matching piece, to their jigsaw.

Cakes decorated with flags bearing details of the event, were handed out to passers-by during the Saturday morning of the event. As is usual, the passing general public are generally suspicious of accepting anything that is offered for free. However, despite this, and the pouring rain, cakes were offered and some were accepted, and later, at least half a dozen people admitted to having been enticed to the event as a result of this Cake Marketing Exercise.

At two o'clock, the students decided to stare in complete silence at various points of the room. Whilst doing this, the room, although not descending into silence, became significantly quieter.

The hanging two piece jigsaws.

Nina Jan Beier & Marie Jan Lund filmed the students as a group smiling for as long as they could.

The Puppet Video Booth.


On 23 June, Rachael House from Space Station Sixty-Five presented Peckham Pet-Tastic 3:

For this event I paraded a sandwich board titled Dog Tails, a handpainted selection of stories featuring dogs gathered from national newspapers throughout 2006 - The Chinese Year Of The Dog.

The press release describes it thus:

During 2006 Rachael House’s Peckham Pet-Tastic was enticed far away. In May, dogs dressed up and congregated at Hå gamle prestegard in Norway. In August, Bexhill Bow-Wow transformed the De La Warr Pavilion into a gaudy throbbing mass of dogs and humans. In 2007 we even went to neighbouring Lewisham.

Now Peckham Pet-Tastic is back where we belong, in Peckham Square, our spiritual home. Bigger, bolder and even more extravagantly beautiful.

We are excited to be joined this year by artists Marcia Farquhar, WebsterGotts, Daniel Lehan, Simon Ould and Laura Wilson. While you exchange tales of stepping in it with Marcia, duo WebsterGotts will desperately be attempting to befriend your dog. You won’t believe your eyes as Simon transforms himself into a canine war hero. Daniel will be headlining dogs in the news as Laura feeds you popcorn and reminisces about dogs of the silver screen. You may also dress a dog-shaped biscuit with icing, decorate a dog mask and become part of the pack, have your face painted to more closely resemble a dog and pose for photos with a Pound Puppy.

As if that’s not enough, there is also a display of dog masks embellished by artists Edwina Ashton, Marc Baines, Gayle Chong Kwan, Susan Collis, Craig Conlan, Jo David, Sarah Doyle, Amanda Francis, Sam Jones, Lady Lucy, Rebecca Nassauer, Stephen Nelson, Woodrow Phoenix, Hester Reeve, Rosemary Shirley, Andrea Stokes, Shane Waltener and Annie Whiles.

GORILLA IN THE ROSES by Davina and Daniel

This work took place at Camberwell Public Library on 22 June as part of Camberwell Arts Festival - Live Art Programme.

The work drew its inspiration from the defacing of books belonging to Islington Public Library by the playrght Joe Orton, and his partner Keith Halliwell in 1962, for which they were both imprisioned.

Presenting a collection of withdrawn library books, Davina and Daniel encouraged visitors to the library users to deface and re-make the books through the acts which included the cutting, ripping, tearing, folding and shaping of pages, the re-writing of text, and the addition of comments. The defaced books were subsequently displayed on a shelf in the Reference Section of the Library remaining there for one week.


Peripatetic Proverbs was a collection of twelve proverbs I had written, which although non-sensical, were written to mimic the form of traditional proverbs, and which, hand printed on small cards, I handed out to passers-by on Camberwell Green during Camberwell Arts Festival - Live Art Programme.

Again, like the sandwich board that I made for the BonkersFest Festival, I was particularly interested in the reaction to the work by those who directly experienced it.

I find Camberwell Green to be a strange place.

I consider it an arena.

People entering the Green become highly visible, there is no place to blend in or hide. The Green also has a reputation as being a place with a brooding malevolent atmosphere.

In considering how I should hand out the cards, I decided to adopt the attitude of being a person employed to hand out the cards, and this might probably help to distance me from any negative comments the work received.

It took a while to find a comfortable position from where to stand and hand out the cards. Peoples' reactions varied. Some people refused to accept a card, others read the card, paused, and turned back for an explanation, while others immediately stopped to talk to me. Several people did return later, wanting to collect another card.

It was not the most comfortable of experiences. This was pretty unfamiliar territory to me, and I am aware that people can sometimes react strongly to unfamiliar situations, particularly when it comes to art. However, nothing untoward occurred, and I later calculated that I had given the cards out at a rate of one every one and a half minutes.

SERVICE WASH TALES by Davina and Daniel

Service Wash Tales was included in Camberwell Arts Festival - Live Art Programme and took place on 20 June at the Tumble Wash Laundry on Camberwell Church Street. The work was concerned with memory and the passing of time, and the degree to which a personal story changes when retold by someone else.

Davina and Daniel invited customers of the laundry to exchange memories about an item of clothing. Davina and Daniel, having heard a customer's memory just once, recorded it on a piece of paper, which was then washed in a bowl of water, dried, and returned to the customer to take home with them.

Participants included a Frenchman, two Brazillians studying English, and a young man and woman, who, it subsequently, turned out, were partners.

Davina and Daniel were taken with the range of stories they were told, as well as by the enthusiastic responses to their invitation to participate in the work. Just before they left the laundry, one of the Brazillians pinched our arms, to make sure that we were real, and that they had not imagined the whole episode.

I & ME TOO - Part One - At Studio Voltaire

I & ME is a project that bridges the gap between arts education programmes and exhibition through collaboration, run by the artist, and curator Davina Drummond. The first I & ME event took place in London last August and involved eight artists working with a group of young people to create work that explored notions of self-identity. The work of the young people and the artists was subsequently exhibited together at Studio Voltaire.

I & ME TOO was the project's second event, and took as its starting point the idea that it would be the participants - one group of young people working with artists at Studio Voltaire, the other with artists at Cubitt gallery and studios - who would devise and then present and deliver, a series of participatory works at two seperate events, rather than mount an 'end of project exhibition'.

So, at Studio Voltaire, Yara El Sherbini worked with students from the Brit School in Croydon to devise a Pub Quiz, Neil Taylor explored which newspaper stories participants wanted to include in their own newspaper and Kerry Duggan & Oli Cloke explored the notions of giving and receiving.

I decided to pose the question Where Do Ideas Come From ? and in particular, to explore the notion, held to be true by certain philosphers, writers, poets and artists, that the act of walking is itself condusive to the creative process - it was Rauschenberg who said that if you have no ideas, then a walk around the block will provide you with some. So, armed with reams of Post-It Notes I asked the group to record ANY thought (whether it had anything to do with art, or not) that they had, as I led them on a guided walk around Clapham. At several points I halted the group and asked that they continue to write their thoughts whilst standing silent for one minute. Returning to Studio Voltaire all the Post-It Notes were displayed on a large wall.

The next step was for each participant to chose a Post-It Note (someone else's thought) that appealed most to them and to make a monoprint, an artwork, of it. This was to encourage the idea that 'an idea is an idea' it can come from anywhere, possibly from somebody else.

Here are some photographs of the workshop.

At the event on Saturday 16 June, a selection of the monoprints were tied to ballons, and released in the hope that if found, they might inspire further thoughts and ideas.

Participant writing a thought during walk.

Participants on Clapham Common

Some of the Post-It Notes on wall

Participant making monoprint


Ready to release the ballons - Image courtesy of Neil Taylor

A released ballon - Image coutesy of Neil Taylor.


Photograph courtesy of Mark Drinkwater

Daniel Lehan provided a fantastic modern day take on the rarely seen sandwich board man. For this event Lehan painted a sandwich board titled It's A Mad, Mad World with a collection of stories gathered from around the world, together with the invitation to Stop Me and Read One! By wearing these bonkers stories on his board, viewers are forced to consider whether madness is a normal state. What is normal? What is mad? Probably every edition of every newspaper contains at least one bizarre new story, but seeing a collection of them certainly focuses the mind.

Review of Bonkersfest by Mark Drinkwater - Art Disability Culture - August / September 2007

BonkersFest! was held on 2 June on Camberwell Green, South London. A free, annual one day summer arts and music festival featuring live music, theatre and poetry (including a performance by John Hegley), BonkersFest celebrated creativity, madness, individuality and eccentricity, and aimed to raise awareness of mental health issues.

For this event, I painted a sandwich board titled Its A Mad, Mad World with a collection of strange and bizarre new stories gathered from around the world, together with the invitation to STOP ME AND READ ONE!

As well as the stories themselves, I was taken by the strange conjunctions of words of the story headlines, which often had a strange 'Dada' like poetic quality. This was the first time that I had painted and 'paraded' such a sandwich board, being encouraged to do so by the artist Tracie Peisley.

While painting the board, I found a collection of books by Geoffrey Fletcher in the window of Shipleys on Charing Cross Road, and bought London's Pavement Pounders which described, and beautifully illustrated, the various people who had once earnt their living on the streets of London: buskers, match sellers, fortune tellers, pavement artists, and sandwich board men. Apparently during the 1950s there were long lines of hired men continually walking up and down Oxford Street, wearing sandwich boards.

I was interested in how people would react to the sandwich boards - would people be interested, stop, and take the time to read the stories ?

It turned out to be a strange experience standing and watching strangers as it were 'reading me'. Many people did engage with the work, telling me which of the stories they had heard of, and sometimes telling me other stories. I enjoyed these conversations and am thinking now of how to somehow incorporate these interactons in to the work.

I discovered too that I could enjoy the festival as an observer whilst wearing the boards. Standing to watch the Morris Dancers or Samba Band perform, acted as a focus, rather than a distraction to that event.