A Southwark artist is inviting members of the public to help him recreate a living room – made out of cardboard. Rod Kitson is working in the Surrey Quays Shopping Centre for the next two weeks (Sep 1-Sep 15), using waste material produced by the surrounding shops to make tables, chairs, cabinets, and even a grandfather clock.
The project, called ‘Boxed In’, is the second lockdown-themed exhibition he has run in the Art of Isolation shop on the upper floor of the centre.
The space is being run like a workshop, with visitors able to bring designs of their own to build, be guided in how to make things, or simply have a look at what others have created. They can also paint the items or design wallpaper to hang on the walls.
Kitson said: “Don’t worry if you have no experience, it’s all just about the fun of making something. I have made quite a few things now, and none of them are perfect, and that’s how I like them!
“You can make whatever you like, from a simple table to smaller ornaments, mugs, chairs, or even toys. Today someone made a teddy bear out of layers of cardboard, and we’re planning to make a dinosaur skeleton. Maybe life-size would be pushing it, but it’s good to have a challenge!
“People can take part as much or as little as they want. I want the space to be really welcoming, so please do pop in and say hello.”
Rod got the idea for the interactive exhibition from the isolation of being in lockdown: “We have all been cooped up in our own rooms for so long, with all this creative energy having nowhere to go,” he explained. “And I was also thinking about the amount of deliveries we had to our homes in cardboard boxes from Amazon and the like. So why not use those surplus materials and energy to create something that relates to our experiences during this strange time.
“I thought this would be a great way to reflect on the amount of time we have had to spend indoors during the lockdown. If we can reduce waste while we’re at it, and reuse materials that would have been thrown away, then that’s a bonus.
“I love to make use of things that would be chucked away, especially if I can use them artistically. It’s good to think about materials and resources in a different way. And with all the shops in the shopping centre, there is no shortage of cardboard to be had!”
All tools and material are provided. It is open to all ages, under 16s must be accompanied and supervised by an adult, and face coverings must be worn at all times with social distancing measures observed. It is free to take part.
Boxed In is the latest community art project by Rod, who earlier this summer curated the Art of Isolation exhibition of 230 works of art by 140 artists – all made during lockdown.
Boxed In runs from Tues September 1 to Tuesday September 15, Tuesday – Saturday 11am-5pm (12-5pm Thursdays, 11-3pm Friday Sep 4) Closed Mondays
The Art of Isolation, Unit 38, Upper Floor, Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, Redriff Road, London, SE16 7LL