Kahoon Projects

Residencies, Outreach and Openings

SET Bermondsey was the location of the residencies and exhibitions, and was handed to the artists for the duration of their 1-month residency as they collaboratively developed their work. This became the meeting place for artist-guests and mentors. Both exhibitions presented ambitious, and very different, installations, exploring the subject of working-class identity from very different viewpoints. SET Bermondesy was closed in 2020 to make way for a new housing development.

Shonagh and Maria worked very closely together throughout the residency, becoming close friends and collaborators through the weeks.

Roland and Alex led an inspiration trip to Southwark Park Galleries (then CGP Galleries), viewing two exhibitions. This included Realm by Hazel Brill, Richard Downes and Mr X, as an example of a collaborative exhibition, with a DIY feel, by young local artists; and Beth Collar’s ‘Daddy Issues’ as an example of effective curation in a large gallery space. As part of the trip we visited the Ada Salter garden in Southwark Park, thinking about the role of this figure who worked to help improve the lives of the poor in this local area.
WANK (Working-Class Artists’ Network) Collective were guests as SET to discuss some of the issues surrounding working-class participation in the arts in the UK. Kahoon Projects then hosted the collective’s Spring Fair fundraiser at SET Bermondsey, raising money to support its activities.
‘Do the Twist’ is the exhibition that resulted from the first residency with Shonagh and Maria. This complex installation was a true collaboration, drawing on Shonagh’s interest in language and space as covert indicators of class, and Maria’s understanding of the colour yellow as a site of resistance. It presented a maze with films, poetry, sculpture and found objects hidden around the spaces. At the opening we welcomed the public who fought through the storms to get to the exhibition on a wet and cold spring evening.
During the course of Kahoon Projects the team worked with staff of a local Bermondsey care home, to involve their residents in the Projects’ activities. Following the opening of ‘Do the Twist’ we had a special opening for some of the residents.
The Peckham Pelican (Peckham-based arts venue) was kind enough to host the Kahoon Projects artists’ talks. For the first, Alex led the conversation between Shonagh and Maria, as they discussed their art work, exhibition, and the ideas behind both to a public audience. The talk was free and well attended, and provided an opportunity for the artists to discuss their ideas with a broader public – the talk was followed by lively discussions with members of the audience. During the talk we also had a screening of Maria’s films that were on exhibition at Do the Twist, and also screened a series of films by artists exploring issues of class in different ways.
As part of the second Kahoon Projects residency, Morgan and Mitchell hosted a car meet at SET Bermondsey, with Louis Castle and Elliot of Modified Mercs. Louis and Elliot are featured in Morgan’s film, ‘Maneuvers’, exploring the culture of car modifications and associated groups. As covered by the mainstream media, car meets have a negative reputation for disruptive use of public roads and spaces. Maneuvers seeks to examine the culture through the eyes and experiences of some of those involved, in a part of the country known both for its social deprivation, and for its dependency on car manufacturing.
Mitchell and Morgan’s posters for their films, as created for and presented at the Word of Mouth exhibition.
While Word of Mouth presented a minimalist installation – the opposite to the previous exhibition of the first Kahoon Projects residency – it was no less complex to install. Mitchell drew upon family training to install carpets throughout the exhibition space, and carpet was also used for sound buffers panels installed on the warehouse walls. Harry Bix helped to build the projection wall and the bench.
The exhibition opened with a glorious crowd in attendance. Blessed with good weather, the guests lingered out on the SET forecourt, leaving the audience inside the exhibition to watch the films uninterrupted.