10 months ago
After 7 years, Brixton’s ‘best kept secret’ is returning. The first artwork to portray black British people in England is back.
In 1986 the Public Art Development Trust, on behalf of British Rail, commissioned artist Kevin Atherton to create 3 bronze statues. The life-size figures were named Platforms Piece, and were erected on Brixton station platform for 40 years before being removed for refurbishment in 2016.
The trio were made to represent specific Brixton residents at the time; Joy Battick, Karin Heistermann and Peter Lloyd. It wasn’t just their incredibly life-like appearance that has made these statues so impressive. It is believed that these sculptures were the first documented representation of British black people in England in the public art sphere, making them pieces of extreme historical importance.
After 7 years, and having undergone maintenance, they are now being reinstalled onto the platform. However, this time they have an additional member of their crew. ‘Joy II’ is the forth in the pack, and is the same woman as the original Joy, but 40 years later. Just 26 years old when the first sculptures were made, the latest statue will be installed opposite the original. Face-to-face, both Joys are looking at different versions of herself. On this, artist Atherton said “Joy is looking at her younger self, but she’s also looking at herself that’s yet to be.”
The next time you are waiting for your train, we hope there is a delay. It’ll give you an opportunity to appreciate the unique and historically significant works of art.