An Ode to the art community in Brixton

Black Lives Matter banner in Brixton

Brixton has been long misunderstood due to its high crime rate, however with so much to offer from the arts to music- it seems to be an up-and-coming hub for creatives. Anyone who has strolled Brixton’s streets knows how amazing its art scene is, but for anyone who hasn’t, here are some of the best pieces that might inspire a trip to Brixton.

Mural celebrating Brixton Topcat's Jimmy Rogers

Brixton’s murals are its pride and joy. Whether it is the 1970s pop art, David Bowie mural or Team Brixton under the arch near the market, they all have a story to tell.

Pic of the 1981 Brixton Riot

These murals will be your first port of call when visiting. Curated by Lambeth council, Brixton murals came to life after the city riots, in 1981. The Brixton Riots were a response to the racial tension between black youth and the police as explained by the BBC Newsround.

It was a movement lead mostly by young Black men that fought with the police over a three day period and resulted in more than 300 people injured and an estimate of £7.5 million in damage costs.

This art grew out of the pain and resilience of the young Black men wanting to have equal rights in their society.

Elijah Augustus, who has lived mainly in Brixton and the surrounding areas since 1991-2013, has seen the area’s artwork through many lenses and perspectives.

“I am a devoted Christian and I have lived and worked in the heart of Brixton, Electric Avenue, and on the frontline, tackling a range of social issues. Over the years I realised how creativity and art is a means of self-expression of people’s experiences, their political allegiance, their struggles, fears, pains, hurts, dissatisfactions, therapy, healing, hopes and dreams of better future.”

Chadwick Boseman mural

Brixton is also home to music and legendary movie theatre venues such as the O2 Academy Brixton, The Electric Avenue, and the well-known movie theatre the Ritzy. Its bright lights and billboards give Brixton a slight feel of New York, more precisely a mini-Harlem with a hint of Time Square on the Broadway side. The Ritzy is surrounded by unforgettable black and white photography of movie legends. A definite must- see!

Art outside the Brixton Library

The Brixton Library architecture is splendid. It breathes art and has expos from former initiatives such as COP26 or Carers in Lambeth and even portraits of local’s who have made a difference. Although it is a small library, it is full of beautifully chaotic art on every one of its walls. Ethnic minorities’ art pieces are also ever so present in the library, especially from the Brixton Riots and Black Lives Matter movement archives.

Architecture and artwork inside the Brixton Library

If there is a building which represents Brixton the best it would be the library. As quaint as it looks on the outside it is full of warmth, love, culture, attitude, colours, and chaos and thus represents Brixton in its entirety.

We love Brixton because you can find the art which you can identify with, from punk, to pop culture, 50s chic and black art.

Let us know in the comments where your favourite spot in Brixton is!