Community, urban life and South London history will be celebrated in Manor Place with an exhibition – Five Hides – next month, looking back at lost facets of the city but doing so through a contemporary, forward-thinking lens.
Held in a building that’s been part of the community since the 1800s and comprising some of the UK’s most exciting early-career contemporary artists, it will also engage with local young people to encourage them to explore creative careers.
Five Hides is presented by curatorial platform Thorp Stavri and is supported, using public funding by the National Lottery, through Arts Council England and through the continued support of Projekt and FAD Magazine.
It will take place at Manor Place, a Victorian building taking its name from the Manor of Walworth, described by The Domesday Book (1086) as being “five hides” in area: enough land to support five families or to produce £5 in taxes.
Manor Place has a rich history of serving the people of Walworth. Built in the 1890s as public baths and laundry facility for local residents, it strengthened a sense of community in the area, while giving patrons an independence lacking in their domestic situations: providing somewhere they could improve health and hygiene, and come together with neighbours at the same time.
Manor Place later became a hub for London’s boxing community, the Metropolitan Borough of Southwark’s Charity Boxing Committee hosting the biggest names in the sport giving locals the chance to see professional boxing right on their own doorstep, and hosting annual fundraisers for local children. It became so synonymous with the sport that when the BBC began broadcasting boxing, it chose Manor Place as its first venue.
The building then went on to become a Buddhist centre, offering classes and workshops to the community, continuing its long legacy as a space offering well-being and togetherness to the people of Walworth. Now surrounded by expensive, encroaching redevelopment, Manor Place may not be able to retain this role much longer. Five Hides will celebrate the space and open it up to the community once more before it’s potentially gone forever.
Contemporary art is almost exclusively an urban undertaking, then this show attempts to demonstrate the complexity of that condition while maintaining the powerful presence of painting and sculpture as it is being made right now. It incorporates issues of identity and the body; the prosaic, concrete and spiritual potential of the object and the enduring power of painting as a radical act.
Throughout, this exhibition is actively conscious of the role contemporary art has to play in the wider world. The selection of this cross-section of artists has been made with this in mind in an attempt to combine a many-layered complexity of thought with an accessibility that resonates with a wide public.
Manor Place Bath, 33 Manor Place, Walworth, SE17 3BH from 3rd – 12th October 2020. Admission: Free.
Book tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/thorp-stavri-31143556469
Main image: Katharina Fitz – ‘BLOOM – Sprawl’