For the Whitecross Street Party, Kunstraum commissioned the artist Jennifer Binnie to produce a large-scale painting displayed as part of a performance with her sister Christine Binnie. Commemorating Emily Davison (1872-1913) – a suffragette who fought for the vote of women in the UK in the early twentieth century – the painting is celebratory of Davison’s achievements, representing the suffragette gloriously riding King Georges V’ horse that hit her to death in 1913. The painting was part of a participatory performance in which party-goers were invited to enter in and experience the wonder of a magic wardrobe.
Kunstraum‘s Friends & Neighbours is a programme of artist-led workshops for residents of Whitecross Street and the wider EC1 area. Artists Zoe Williams, Lisa Penny, Lindsey Mendick, William Ashcroft & Aisha Bozonga will kick off ‘Friends & Neighbours’ for the Whitecross Street Party 2018 with four major new commissions, which challenge artists to test participatory and socially engaged projects within their broader practice.
Inspired by Kunstraum‘s building’s former function as a community hall, Friends & Neighbours expands beyond the gallery’s walls to test the conditions of accessibility and social potential of contemporary art. The project’s title suggests ‘neighbourliness’ as a model for a non-hierarchical relationship of an art space to its audiences. Standing contrary to stereotypical media depiction of communities who live in social housing, the programme foregrounds residents’ ongoing involvement in cultural life and proposes an alternative to galleries’ role in gentrification and social cleansing.