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art

MOST ARTISTS WHO LIVE or work here agree that Southwark is different. By that, they usually mean different from Hackney and Hoxton, those parts of London generally seen as the territory for cutting edge London art. But unlike those east London hubs, Southwark still has a great legacy of affordable spaces, and a relaxed pace of life. Whether you’re in Bankside, Peckham or Bermondsey, “it’s less about the lifestyle and more about the art”, as one young curator puts it. What’s more, artists, galleries and public bodies are realising that the long-term sustainability of this thriving art scene can be best achieved by working together. So, what’s happening? One way to find out is to pick up a South London Art Map. Julia Alvarez, director of BEARSPACE contemporary gallery in Deptford, originally set up the local Hub Art Map to showcase galleries in Deptford. But after Arts Council England encouraged her to expand it, the map now shows three hubs – Bankside, Peckham and Deptford. As well as the map itself, South London Art Map, or SLAM, offers art tours and an increasingly popular event called Last Fridays – a free, late-night opening of galleries on the last Friday of every month, which has been instrumental in opening up the area to a much wider audience. SLAM itself is the first example of collaboration. Every three months, galleries within each hub meet to jointly promote what they are doing, discuss issues that have an impact on all of them, such as business rates, and work as a lobbying group, with a different gallery championing each hub. While lots of organisations work on behalf of artists, Alvarez notes that SLAM is unique in working with galleries and studios, in fact anyone who has a business plan and is open to the public. “It is often these organisations that kickstart regeneration, working hard to build an area up, generating long-term sustainability that other people want to buy into, but they rarely get any of the glory,” she says. South London Art Map was launched in 2011 with 100 galleries, and within a year that has risen to 170. As Alvarez says, they must be doing something right. “These are all contemporary art galleries, so despite all the gloom, it would seem that art here is flourishing.”

southwarkmagazine.com

far left: Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Marc Quinn have exhibited at White Cube. left: Nathan Cash Davidson’s studio at The Sunday Painter. below: No67 is an independent cafe and dining room within the South London Gallery.

ISSUE

9 AUTUMN 2012 57

Profile for 3Fox International Ltd

Southwark #9  

A high profile, high-quality business publication, Southwark magazine covers every aspect of Southwark Council's 12 year development program...

Southwark #9  

A high profile, high-quality business publication, Southwark magazine covers every aspect of Southwark Council's 12 year development program...