August 25 - September 8
Private View | Friday 25 August | 4-7pm
Soapbox –An exhibition of artwork and archive photographs shine a light on Walworth’s Speakers’ Corner.
Artwork by the late Joe Bent will form part of an exhibition at ASC Gallery about political campaigning in Southwark more than 50 years ago.
Joe was the son of John Spencer Bent who was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry in Ypres during the First World War. Born Spencer John Bent after his father, Joe played a big role in Southwark’s political life during the 1950s and 1960s, campaigning tirelessly and standing in both general and GLC elections for the Communist Party. A great public speaker, he could often be seen on Sundays at his pitch on the corner of Dawes Street and East Street, Walworth’s very own Speakers’ Corner.
The exhibition brings together a previously unseen collection of etchings that contrast with a life that was spent campaigning in public. Photographs from former union official, Graham Stevenson’s collection, Southwark Local History Library and Marx Memorial Archive make up the many layers of this exhibition. They will be displayed together with items from the fascinating personal archive of Tony Farsky, a contemporary of Joe’s, and oral histories recorded for the project.
Heritage Project Coordinator Julia Honess said,
“I had often heard people in Walworth talk about Joe Bent’s campaigning and public speaking, and was visiting his partner, Maureen Tyson one day to see if she had any memorabilia relating to Joe’s work. Instead she showed me a portfolio of his artwork. That’s how the idea for an exhibition started. ASC Gallery seemed like a natural home for the work because of its location so close to where Joe used to stand and campaign in East Street”
In addition to the exhibition, thanks to funding from Faraday Ward Neighbourhood Community Council, the Soapbox project also includes workshops with InSpire Youth Arts and local young people in which they can learn how to present their views and listen to the ideas of others.
Notes to editors
The Artists Studio Company was founded in 1993 and is the leading charitable provider of affordable Artist’s workspace in Greater London. ASC’s mission is to aid and facilitate artists, applied artists, art production and to educate the public in the arts through the development, provision and management of affordable, sustainable workspace, exhibition space, advice and services. In 2010, as part of their continuing support to artists’ development, they founded The ASC Gallery aims to engage with new audiences and promote contemporary art to a wider public. http://www.ascstudios.co.uk/asc-gallery/
Through its two dedicated community centres, InSpire works to support and build the capacity of local residents and the wider community to overcome barriers and perceived barriers to success by providing a range of programmes and services for all members of the community. InSpire’s Youth Arts Programme offers a range of activities for young people aged 8-24 from the Youth Centre 2InSpire
For more information please contact Julia Honess on 07960318055