A young local artist is helping to transform Thamesmead’s network of canal underpasses into colourful and vibrant spaces for everyone to enjoy.
Print designer Paige Denham, who has lived in Thamesmead all her life, has won a design competition held by Peabody, in partnership with Moniker Projects, as part of its Thamesmead Canal Mural Programme.
Over the next few months 24-year-old Paige, and internationally established artists Louis Masai, Jo Peel, Hixxy and Xenz, will be creating murals at eight underpasses that connect Thamesmead’s four-mile network of picturesque canals.
The murals will feature the area’s wildlife and natural inhabitants reflecting its original ‘residents’. The artworks will be accompanied by way-finding signs to guide people to local landmarks and open spaces.
Paige said: “Painting a large scale piece of art, which will be there forever, has been a career goal of mine. To be able to paint a mural in my home town alongside such inspiring and well-respected artists is an absolute pleasure. It is an incredible opportunity to share my colourful outlook on the world with the residents of a town that I treasure so much.”
Adriana Marques, Peabody’s Head of Culture for Thamesmead, added: “These underpasses have been dark and unloved for years but now will be brightened up with colourful, high quality murals that celebrate Thamesmead’s wildlife and landscape, and some of our iconic architecture.
“It’s exciting local talent like Paige will be one of the artists bringing about this transformation, and that we’re able to bring culture into everyday spaces in Thamesmead. We hope this is just the beginning of more public art and large scale murals to come.”
The programme has been coordinated by Moniker Projects who were commissioned by Peabody as a part of its wider cultural programme in the town.
Moniker Projects spoke to residents at the Thamesmead Market events as well as local community groups and schools in developing the murals.
Paige was selected as part of an open call competition by a judging panel including representatives from the Nature Forum, Youth Eco Development Council, Peabody and Moniker Projects. Her bright and joyful interpretation of Thamesmead’s landscape will be at the underpass by Woodpecker Close.
Jo Peel, known for her iconic cityscapes, has received input from Hawskmoor Primary School and is drawing a skyline of Thamesmead’s most loved buildings along the canal underpass next to the town centre.
Hixxy, known for her large-scale flora and fauna murals, is painting Thamesmead’s beloved wildlife in the underpass next to Tump 53.
Louis Masai is committed to raising awareness of endangered animals and will be painting a series of eels, which do exist in Thamesmead’s waterways, and a series of the rare Carver Bee. Xenz has spray-painted murals of birds and plants all over the world and will be depicting local birds on the footbridges and underpasses along Crossways Canal.