South London’s Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre was once a beacon of 1960s utopian developments. But now the oldest shopping mall in Europe is slated for demolition as local communities and small businesses wrangle with local government and property developers over its future.
However, yesterday (Sunday 20 May) all the current woes were cast aside in a flurry of vivid colour and glittering ornament as the artist and South London resident Andrew Logan staged one of his famous Jewellery Parades through the dilapidated centre and out into the surrounding Old Kent and Walworth Roads. Appropriately for a neighbourhood that is home to many of London’s Latin American communities, Logan’s 20-strong band of volunteers were accompanied by the high tempo drum beats of the London-based Brazilian musician Xavier Osmir and his Banda Batuke, who kept the pace brisk and spirits high.
Car horns hooted and passers-by joined in the merriment as Logan’s vivid multigenerational crew—all styled by the artist in rainbow coloured costumes and bedecked with his distinctive jewellery made from sparkling shards of mirror—snaked, swayed and shimmied their way through the afternoon sunshine.
The event was instigated by the curator and long-time Logan fan Sasha Galitzine “to spread Logan’s glorious philosophy of joy and celebration of life” and also to flag up her forthcoming Salon 63 project in mid-September. This involves artists making work in seven hair and beauty salons along the Number 63 bus route, starting with the former London Hair Fashions in Elephant and Castle Shopping centre, which acted as an impromptu changing room for yesterday’s event.
Later this year, Logan is also bringing more gorgeousness to South London with the staging of the 14th iteration of his Alternative Miss World competition in Shakespeare’s Globe on Saturday 20 October. This year’s theme is Psychedelic Peace and, as always, it rewards not beauty but individuality and creativity (with past winners including Derek Jarman in 1975 and Professor Bruce Lacey’s robot Rosa Bosom in 1985.