The Chronicles of Brixton

What one thing would you save from a fire?

Deep question, huh? Well this is what I’m asking the people of Brixton, in order to create an enormous kaleidoscopic collage for London Design Festival.

I’m collecting images of people’s most treasured objects, and bringing them together to create a 2x3m digital piece of art celebrating the stories of the people of Brixton.

It’s going to look a little something like this…

kaleidoscopic tropical fish psychedelic digital art collage Robyn Parker archie mac london chronicles of brixton
Psychedelic, kaleidoscopic collage created from photos of tropical fish

It’s only when you look up close at this trippy, mandala type pattern that you see that it’s actually made from tiny little tropical fish. There’s way more to it than meets the eye, just like all of us lovely humans. And that’s why I’ve chosen this format to present the Chronicles of Brixton.

save brixton arches community art street art
(Image courtesy of Save Brixton Arches)

It’s an odd time for Brixton, with longstanding businesses being shut down, or at the risk of, left right and centre. We’ve said goodbye to Kaff Bar, The Canterbury Arms has served its last pint and all 30 of the businesses in the Atlantic Road arches are on the verge of being evicted. And it’s not just our local businesses that we’re losing. People’s homes are at risk too, with plans underway to demolish the Cressingham Gardens estate and soaring rent prices forcing people out of the area.

In place of family run businesses and (genuinely) affordable housing, we’re seeing an increase in new build properties and trendy bars and restaurants that attract a new audience of young professionals to Brixton.

When worlds collide, and worlds are torn apart, it can be easy to start to judge. I hate labels. I don’t care what clothes you wear, where you work, how you choose to style your hair. I don’t find it at all helpful to herd people into groups for the sake of condemnation. At the end of the day, we’re all humans. Wonderful creatures sharing the same earth.

So that’s what The Chronicles of Brixton is about. It’s about getting beneath the surface, recognising the differences and the similarities that we all share as humans. It’s about finding out what’s really important to people. And celebrating each and every one of us that makes Brixton the beautiful place it is.

If you would like to become part of The Chronicles of Brixton, send a photo of the one thing you would save from a fire (imagine all the humans can get themselves out!) over to, or tag @SaveFromAFire on Instagram or Twitter. Oh, we’re on Facebook too, we get around, what can we say…

The Chronicles of Brixton will be on display in The Phoenix Cafe, Coldharbour Lane, 19-26 September as part of Brixton Design Trail for London Design Festival


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