Grayson Perry: “This lamp is a small monument to social housing”

Grayson Perry unveils a moving new permanent public sculpture in Barking town center today (30th November).

Inspiration lives here is a two meter wide luminaire in the form of a row of semi-detached houses. It is inspired by the Becontree Estate in Dagenham – Britain’s largest housing development, built between 1921 and 1935 during the inter-war housing crisis and steeped in the Arts & Crafts tradition.

The artwork is located in the central courtyard of A House for Artists, which provides sustainable and affordable housing and work for 12 artists and their families in London’s Barking and Dagenham.

The illuminated, hand-painted CorTen steel sculpture, which has withstood the weather over time, will welcome visitors as a glowing beacon.

“This lamp is a small monument to social housing,” Perry said. “I spent half my childhood in a house like this, and most of my extended family lived in a community center.”

He added: “At a time of unaffordable housing here in the UK, a council house seems like an impossible dream.

“I want the lamp to emit a touch of nostalgia for a time when people tinkered in sheds and children ran wild, when the Becontree Estate was home to war heroes and Ford workers. The pale green Ford Anglia was my father’s first car.”

To reflect the history of car production in Dagenham, Perry’s lamp also includes a Ford car and van parked outside, with light filtering through the windows of the house and vehicle.

The Grayson Perry sculpture contains a nod to the history of car production in Dagenham

(Julia Forsmann)

Perry’s new sculpture was commissioned by Create London and funded by the Art Fund.

“‘Inspiration Lives Here’ will stand as an illuminating symbol of creativity and will showcase Grayson Perry’s invaluable support and enthusiasm for A House for Artists,” said Create London Director Marie Bak Mortensen.

“Create London is thrilled to have commissioned this enduring work of art for the community surrounding Barking Town Centre, continuing our mission to dissolve traditional hierarchies between the art world and everyday life and to bring world-class art to areas where it’s most least expected.” Grayson Perry: “This lamp is a small monument to social housing”


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