Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Greenside Arts Lectures

The Greenside Mural by Gordon Cullen
One of the joys of the last 12 months has been helping run the campaign to restore the Greenside Mural. The old adage, 'the more you put in the more you get out' is, as so often proved, quite true. But I think the most surprising thing is that what you 'get out' is very seldom what you expect.
Science Week at the school inspired by the Greenside Mural - Solar System
The Friends of the Greenside Mural was set up 18 months ago or so, to bring the extraordinary Gordon Cullen mural at Greenside Primary School back into school life, and make it a presentable part of the school foyer and the school curriculum. Having been covered over for many years, the mural is worn and dirty, but surprisingly not really that badly damaged.
The entrance to the Goldfinger school built in 1952
The mural was commissioned by architect Erno Goldfinger as part of the original school plan. Goldfinger won the project to design the school when he presented an innovative pre-cast concrete concept, rather than follow the brief to put up a series of huts as a temporary school. The winning idea was that his design offered a covered walkway from the main school to the hall - something the separate huts wouldn't provide. The curved walkway is still one of the more distinctive features today.
Detail from the mural - The Sea
Gordon Cullen was asked to create a mural for the entrance hall and he wrote in his notebook,"a castle, the world, a toad, an engine"; and a lone sentence saying, "Mural. To undulate and intrigue.  How?" The result, painted during 1952-53, is an intriguing set of vignettes, set firmly in the 50s in style, but inspiring today.
The Thames - Eric Ravilious
As part of our fundraising campaign we have initiated the Greenside Arts Lectures. Our aim is to curate  a series of insightful talks, highly illustrated, that celebrate artists who have lived and/or worked in the area. We also want to develop Greenside School as a local cultural hub, given its heritage both architecturally and artistically and its Grade II* listing. Our initial focus is on 20th Century artists, kicking off with one of our favourites, Eric Ravilious, in April.
James Russell signing books at the evening Eric Ravilious: the Hammersmith Years
James Russell, author of the series 'Ravilious in Pictures', delivered a very personal and entertaining talk entitled Eric Ravilious: the Hammersmith Years. Ravilious lived on the corner of Weltje Road and Upper Mall on the river in Hammersmith from 1930 - 1933 with his wife Tirzah Garwood. Tirzah herself was an artist and is the subject of a lovely exhibition at the Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden to coincide with the publication of her autobiography, "Long Live Great Bardfield and Love to You All" published by the Fleece Press.

The evening was sold out and we were thrilled by the response from the local community, art lovers, local historians and heritage enthusiasts.
The Harbour, School Print by Julian Trevelyan who lived by the river in Hammersmith, this example is displayed in Hammersmith Hospital
My research into what the next talk should be has led me to discover all sorts of brilliant new secrets and artistic gems about Hammersmith and our locale, and meet some lovely people full of information and ideas about art, people and our local heritage. All very exciting.

We are planning more talks for Autumn and Spring now, please keep an eye on the Greenside Mural Facebook page for more news.