Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Steven Lawrence Gallery

I boarded the boat towards Greenwich expecting to see the Greenwich Naval College Library. I then learned that the library wasn't available to be seen because it is being moved to another facility. So instead we went to see the Steven Lawrence Gallery.

 The Steven Lawrence Gallery was created in 2000. The beginnings of the gallery are steeped in deep sorrow. Steven Lawrence was fatally stabbed at a bus stop in London. The police did not seek to prosecute the parties involved as their families  were criminal informants. Thus the racially motivated murder became a scandal. The term "institutionalized racism" emerged in the wake of this tragedy, revealing the corruption which was playing out in the system. Steven Lawrence's mother wished to establish an art gallery which would feature dynamic visual art which she felt expressed her son's own creativity.


The gallery features exhibitions which are especially pertinent to Greenwich. The current exhibition features a collection of pieces from a group of artists. In the 1970's a group of artists around the Greenwich area, needing studio space but unable to afford it, started taking over abandoned industrial buildings to live and work in. The group worked in this way until the mid 1990's. Jeff Lowe, one of the groups founding members, later founded a charitable studio organization for artists in need of a studio space.

The exhibition is designed to pair pieces with similar color and emotion are coupled together. The pieces were a mixture of paintings and sculpture. Several of the artists featured were spouses or in relationships with the other artists, revealing just how close this group of artists are.  This exhibition is the second of a two part exhibition. The first show displayed archival materials from the group's organization.

After the visit to the gallery, we took a tour of the grounds of Greenwich. The place is the site of such history its hard to keep it all straight. It was the site of the Royal Naval College, the Palace of King James IV, the birthplace of Henry VIII, Mary I and Elizabeth I. It served as a naval hospital for retired sailors. It currently houses the college of Greenwich and Trinity College of Music. There are so many buildings build and each one seemingly built at a different time.

Walking the grounds, viewing the original foundations, and seeing the grand hall which the sailors found too fancy to eat in, one feels just how much history there can be in one place.

One of my favorite features is the Skittle Alley. Built for the sailors entertainment, the old bowling alley has pins made from the wood of old ships and the balls are left over cannon balls.

*The amazing display cap above is by Jessica Hische, an amazing designer I came across in my perpetual search for awesome design and typography. The letter comes from her Daily Drop Cap project.

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