Banana boxes to underground wires

Highlights from a night of conversation with artist Lucinda Rogers

Details

  • Rachael Kosinski
  • Exhibitions

Mark Harris, Lecturer of Fines Arts at Goldsmiths, hosted a discussion with Lucinda Rogers about her exhibition On GentrificationRachael Kosinski, a UCL Masters student on work placement at House of Illustration, brings together the highlights...

House of Illustration commissioned Lucinda Rogers to create a new body of work responding to urban development in London, and its effects on communities. Surrounded by her large ink and watercolour drawings, the audience were led on a journey through East London’s Ridley Road Market – one of the last truly traditional marketplaces in the city, and where a new development hovers overhead. 

Mark began the talk with a question about Lucinda's initial experience when entering the 150-year-old market. She replied that she worked on site between August and October and commented on the comradery of the place; an atmosphere she felt nowhere else.

"If you have a stall here, you could talk to the stallholder across there…when this lady with her herbs went for a break, the man next to her would stand in, and vice versa. And she would even call out, ‘Scarves, one pound!’ when he was gone for him! So it was this really nice, intimate place that I enjoyed and I suppose I just picked up who I wanted to draw and saw things along the way."

Focussing in on one of her favourite images, Lucinda described the fruit stalls she brought to life in ink and gentle dabs of colour.

"Well, I was going down to get a cup of tea, and as I was passing this shop it has a dirty, plastic, corrugated roof…And the yellow light was shining down on these cut yams and breadfruit, which were so bright like lights, and because of the contrast with the sort of dirty side and the white inside I saw those and I thought, ‘I’ve got to somehow get those done.’ And I chose that paper so they would shine out in that way."

When questions were raised about the new housing development, Lucinda drew attention to the rarities of Ridley Road Market and why it should be preserved.

"Where new markets have been sort of manufactured... owners are wanting to be more important than the stallholders, and that’s wrong because I think that the stallholder running his own individual business is very authentic. We can be giving our money to the person who’s actually going to take it home and do something with it. So it’s an incredibly direct form of engagement."

Right before the end, a member of the audience asked if Lucinda had any interest in viewing other places in London, not street markets. She answered with the idea of drawing the wires in tube stations:

"No people, no bananas, nothing…so that’s the next idea. But I also am quite interested in the Old Kent Road which is having a terrible time and I’ve developed a theme of workplaces and people making things, and I did lots of drawings in Tottenham of an industrial estate and, again, it’s a very important part of our city which needs protecting as well. So the Old Kent Road is sort of under attack and I’m thinking maybe I’ll go there and draw some of the things going on."

Lucinda Rogers: On Gentrification runs until 25 March 2018.

On 21 March 2018, hear reportage expert Gary Embury in disucssion with Lucinda Rogers, Olivier Kugler, Tim Vyner, Jill Gibbon and former Senior Art Director of The Times, Martin Harrison. Meet the artists afterwards over a free drink in the gallery. Get tickets here.