Brian Barnes MBE made his mark on London, and his native Battersea in particular, as both an artist and community activist. Whilst some of his most iconic murals have been lost, many remain and continue to brighten the urban streetscapes they occupy. These include Nuclear Dawn (1981) in Brixton and the Stockwell Memorial (2001). Sadly, Brian passed away in November of last year (2021). To celebrate his work we will be releasing a series of short films featuring Brian talking about his process and the political impulse that shapes his work.
Spectacle filmed many interviews with Brian Barnes over the years covering both his art and activism. The first of our films on Brian Barnes was filmed by students on one of Spectacles training courses. It features Brian discussing the his Stockwell Memorial mural and can be seen in full here:
In the playground of Chesterton School, Battersea SW11 is a much-loved mural painted by the talented Brian Barnes.
Due to construction work on the school ground, the top part of the mural was damaged and needed repair. Watch our video below of Brian explaining the different panels.
Below is a log written in his own words about the process of repairing the mural.
“The mural needed repairs because the wall was replaced taking away about 200 sq ft. of the painting equivalent to a quarter of the mural. All above the climbing studs which tended to be the most detailed.
Morgan Paton helped me in the weeks of the summer holidays. The weather was very warm with a very hot day of 38 degrees in the shade but little shade, Morgan made a tarpaulin shelter. We had a few volunteers Omero painted the blue arc on 27th August. Then we also had help from Fraya and Liam. Morgan painting Downe House home of Charles Darwin near Bromley. I painted a new version of the portrait of Darwin from a photo.
We went on Saturday 21st September to complete the repairs having painted for 10 days for 120 hours (not including an extra drawing for the Darwin portrait on paper)”
Brian Barnes is the founder of the Battersea Power Station community group. You can follow the links below for more updated information on the campaign to save the power station.