Is the writing on the wall for the mural?


Published: 17 November, 2011
This mural on the side of  St George’s Town Hall,  east London – by artists Dave Binnington, Desmond Rochfort, Paul Butler and Ray Walker – depicts the Battle of Cable Street which took place on October 4, 1936, when the British Union of Fascists made a provocative attempt to march through the East End.
They were halted in their tracks by some 250,000 people who were determined to stop them, adopting the slogan of the Spanish Civil War: “They Shall Not Pass.”
Artist collective The Work in Progress – made up of Benedict Drew, Emma Hart, Dai Jenkins, Dean Kenning and Corinna Till – are presenting Reclaim the Mural as part of the Whitechapel Gallery’s commissioning programme of new art beyond the gallery.

Reclaim the Mural aims to understand mural-making in London, the reasons why it has waned in recent decades, and its continuing potential as a critical form of art. 

The project sets out to produce a new mural, exploring the processes of finding a wall, consulting with the public and collaborating on a design.

This approach confronts the difficulties of making an image collectively and the way subversive images can be tamed by inclusive selection processes.

Central to the group’s concerns is the issue of housing: how can the mural as a public surface address this politically urgent area of contemporary life?

The exhibition includes collages charting visits to London murals and conversations with muralists, housing association managers and people encountered at the market stall which became the project’s headquarters during the summer.
• The Work in Progress: Reclaim the Mural is at the Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, E1 7QX, until December 4. Admission free, 020 7522 7888, Email



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