Nation of Shopkeepers
Nation of Shopkeepers is an interactive illustration exhibition that invites the public to create their own fantasy shops for Peckham's Rye Lane.
Created by Garudio Studiage for Peckham Space Gallery the exhibition presents large-scale, painstakingly detailed line drawings of every single building on the street. The illustrations are left enticingly blank, ready to be customised and collaged by visitors to the gallery who range from local residents, school groups, students, artists and of course the shopkeepers themselves.
The illustrations fill the walls of the gallery and are feat of skill and patience. With over two hundred buildings that took up to five hours each to digitally draw, they show the notoriously chaotic street in a startlingly grand and serene light. As with many London areas it is difficult to appreciate the beauty of Rye Lane's architecture among the plate glass of the high street chain stores, the music blasting from the butcher's and the colourful bustle of daily life, but Garudio Studiage have stripped the buildings of any commercial identity and simply represented what is actually there: a wonderful mix of solid, architecturally striking buildings. To see an online version of the whole street drawing, click here.
Khan's Bargain Superstore (the Garudio's favourite inspirational shop) suddenly transforms from a busy fruit and veg/mobile phone/household novelty store into a monumental tile-fronted modernist block, standing in silent authority amongst the heavy Victorian details of its neighbours. Even the blandness of the Aylesham Shopping Centre becomes beautiful when reduced to fine black lines.
But the joy of the exhibition comes also in its thrill of potential. Abandoning the bureaucracy of town planning, it is now left entirely to the public to populate the buildings with whatever shops they want. And the best part is, they don't have to be feasible. A brief vox-pop during the research stages revealed desires for a shop full of real live tigers, a magical shop that changes every time you walk in, and an all singing all dancing greasy spoon entirely staffed by 80s pop icons such as Five Star and Samantha Fox.
Nation of Shopkeepers is the latest of Garudio Studiage's homages to their creative homeland of Peckham, continuing from their Peckham Palm Tree souvenir t-shirts and the acutely observed 'Photo of the Week' spot on their website. The possibilities are endless, with a multitude of collage materials provided, so come along and help create the dream!
89 Peckham High Street
From 2 - 27 August 2011