When we first had the idea for His’n’Hers mural, we initially discarded it for being too silly, but having failed to come up with a cleverer one, we had no option but to settle for it. We suspect it might be this apparent silliness that helps it resist the passing of time. Having initially painted it for no money during the early years of Deptford X back in 2001, the image of two chimneys being humorously linked to the human figure has, surprisingly and inexplicably, become something of an icon of Deptford. The mural does not intend to represent its local community, or its demographics, but offers a welcoming — even mocking — alternative to the often harsh realities of the neighbourhood. A bit like a quirky alien had landed on the High Street.
For Artmongers, it marked the beginning of a journey, turning the streets of South East London into our canvas and getting people involved. In Deptford we developed our participatory processes and methodologies, ultimately making situations of adversity our primary focus; this made our work in a refugee camp in Jordan seem like a natural progression. We are committed to returning there twice a year to bring a fresh approach, and hopefully some joy in making art together. We are currently fundraising to head back in May
Today, we celebrate our mural’s ‘coming of age’ with a show that began with an open call to local people, who have produced alternative versions and unusual photographs, taken and shared on social media. We have also worked with people with special needs (Heart and Soul), and homeless people (999 Club), as well as children from Tidemill Primary to bring to you a diverse body of work that extends beyond what we can offer as artists.
An unexpected twist in the life of the mural is that recently its image has been featured and sold in posters and t-shirts made by third parties who make money off of it, but don’t feel they owe us anything. To disrupt this, we’ve created our own merchandise, which is now available for purchase either here by sending us an email or at Deptford Does Art 28 Deptford High Street, London, SE8 4AF