People Signs and Resistance

Nada Prlja, George Amposah, Tim Blake and George Butler
12 December 2008 to 21 February 2009

Inspired by unique film shot between the 1960’s and 1980’s by Clovis Salmon, People, Signs and Resistance presents his unseen films alongside commissioned works by artists Nada Prlja, George Amposah, Tim Blake and George Butler in a multi-faceted exhibition that engages people in the recent heritage of Brixton.

Known locally as “Sam The Wheels” due to the cycle repair service he operates from his home in Railton Road the “Front Line” of Brixton, Salmon arrived in London from Jamaica in 1954. As an amateur filmmaker he began filming church services and local street scenes, including the aftermath of the 1981 Brixton Riots. He also produced a film that follows the story of ‘Jesus Saves’, a Pentecostal Church demolished to make way for the infamous ‘Barrier Block’ on Coldharbour Lane.

Salmon’s film footage is shown alongside the work of artists and local participants developed throughout 2008. Filmmaker George Amposah worked with young people to create a series of films that investigate the SUS laws, knife crime, the Windrush generation and Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech.

George Butler has produced an interactive video, which develops questions around the themes of ideology, identity and belonging. Filmed interviews with Anarchists, Activists, Rastafarians and Black Panthers all connected in some way with Railton Road have been compiled into a non-linear narrative using Korsakow Software, creating a different experience for every viewer.

Nada Prlja’s project “Jesus Dies for our Sins” explores the recent redevelopment of religious spaces in Brixton and tracks down their alternative use. Prlja’s installation displayed in the gallery front window is a direct message that is intended to act as a warning to gallery visitors, as well as everyday passers-by, about the careless redefinition and redevelopment of Brixton. Tim Blake’s film and photographic work, explores the influences of different cultures on the idea of British-ness as Britain has changed from an imperialist project to a multicultural one.

In essence the exhibition provides a document of the unique spirit and contribution of Brixton to the British landscape.

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