Past exhibitions

William Blake Mosaics | 22-Jan-08 to 30-Mar-08

How many people from Lambeth know
that one of Britain's greatest artists and
writers lived in their own backyard? This
fascinating project will let people learn
about Blake's poetry and art, and discover
more about their local history along the
way. Exhibiting the mosaics across the
street from where Blake once lived is a
great way to open up his legacy for as
many people as possible.

Sue Bowers, The Heritage Lottery Fund

Click here to view the exhibition slide show

William Blake, born 250 years ago on 28 November 1757, is one of Britain's greatest visual and literary artists. His poetry, paintings and philosophical writings are considered seminal works now but so radical were his thoughts at the time, that many considered him mad. In 1790, Blake moved with his wife Catherine to 13 Hercules Buildings, near Westminster Bridge, in North Lambeth; his ten years spent there were some of the happiest and most productive of his life.'Lovely Lambeth' was a frequent theme in Blake's poetry and art but currently there is only one lone plaque to remind passers-by that he lived in the borough.

The William Blake Heritage Project, funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund, is a multi-disciplinary initiative run by Southbank Mosaics in partnership with Futures Theatre Company, and Southbank Sinfonia. The Project aims to develop a shared understanding of Blake's work in the local community, and create a lasting legacy celebrating the life of one of Lambeth's most famous residents. The Project will culminate with a festival in late November 2008, to coincide with Blake's birth. Futures Theatre Company and Southbank Sinfonia are working with children and young people, looking at the work Blake produced during his time living in Lambeth. Futures Theatre Company are using drama techniques to explore poems from Songs of Innocence and Experience; using Blake's words as the inspiration to experiment with voice, sound and movement. The settings, images and language contained within the poems allow the groups to examine the area's cultural history. Southbank Sinfonia is working with young people to create new musical versions of selected poems from the Songs of Innocence and Experience; it is known that William Blake composed his own music for these Songs, but no record of this survives. By considering their own musical response to the poems, and re-composing how this music should sound today and how it might have sounded at the time, the children will develop a deeper and lasting understanding of the poetry. Southbank Mosaics, a not-for-profit community enterprise, enlivens the built environment, transforming dull places with exquisite pieces of durable fine art. It is currently running daily workshops with artists and volunteers to fulfil Blake's wish to see his work enlarged and on show in public spaces. Participants are invited to help create 24 mosaics and ceramic plaques to be mounted at the Centaur Street Tunnel that leads to the site of Blake's home in Lambeth, creating a permanent public art piece. The mosaics will be interspersed with poems mounted on the wall of the viaducts and accompanied by a sound installation of readings of Blake's poetry. If you'd like more information on Project Blake, please contact project director Matthew Couper at matthew@projectblake.org

William Blake Mosaics, an exhibition created by Southbank Mosaics and local people based on William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience, is at the Saison Poetry Library at Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre from Tuesday 22 January until Sunday 30 March 2008. Admission free.

Thursday 13 March 2008, 1pm, The Clore Ballroom

Linked to the exhibition in the Poetry Library, Project Blake is a celebration of this visionary poet and artist. Futures Theatre Company join Southbank Sinfonia and pupils from Friars and Archbishop Sumner Primary Schools for a lively performance, which ends a week of creative musical activity. FREE Thursday 13 March 2008 , 1pm

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