My recent paintings are ongoing construction sites,
depict a real site of gentrification in South London where my studio also used
to be situated. Since a property developer bought one of the old buildings,
artists could rent workspaces for uncertain periods of the time until
permission was granted to build a new luxurious apartment. To build someone’s
bright new home, some artist had to lose their workplace. These could even be
life threatening for people who have lived in an area for years or for their
whole lives. In this series, I ask if I am a victim of this brilliant future plan, gentrification.
I use an imagination of utopia; that is, the
landscape of new homes, nostalgic scenes or holiday sights. They are all real
images from somewhere but they become unreal in my paintings, while still
somehow looking real. While some people are dreaming of their new homes and
putting their savings and mortgages into as-yet-unreal spaces, others are
losing their lifelong homes, while others are making lots of money. The paradox
of home and gentrification is situated in this heterotopic space, which looks
like an unreality but exists everywhere in the city in which we live.