Acklam. (Cue drum roll…) the locally legendary Adventure Playground & Centre (located just off the world famous Portobello Road Market) was a safe haven, an adolescent fantasy underworld where boys became cheeky men, girls filled out and challenged womanhood to pursue them, two-touch football battles were fought at a ruthless pace, and all hurled their bodies, at least once! Risking life & limb jumping from 20ft platforms onto quarter-pieces of car tires dangling at the end of of twisted shards of rope masquerading as secure swings, in a adrenaline pumping game called â€œBorders!â€
Acklam was a place where you earned your stripes, your scars, your friends & your respect – a place where (nearly!) all were welcome: from the cool kids with swagger, the sociallyÂ awkward types with well, their awkwardness, to the raggamuffin street urchins – all who lived amongst the mainstream, seen but not always heard… At Acklam We became kin, with equal opportunity to stand or fall, shout or whisper… dream or scheme, or just simply to “be.”
Around 2001, the Adventure Playground & Centre closed due to internal politics.Â The place has never been the same.
So it is apt that its re-awakening comes in the guise of MuTATE Britainâ€™s – â€œOne Foot In the Groveâ€ – a sensory-dizzying 15000 sq.ft white-knuckle ride of an open air street art exhibition whose simple remit is to “Take art out of the gallery and into the city – where it reaches and entertains a much broader swathe of societyâ€™ , by representing â€˜different tribes in British society”… Yes, very apt, especially when in contrast, just a few London minutes down the motorway in Londonâ€™s famous Regents Park the high-brow & avid â€˜high-art collectingâ€™ connoisseurs & cultural gate-keepers of good taste, mixed with the curious and wide eyed, descend upon the internationally lauded Frieze Art Fair.
With “One foot in the Grove,” The MuTATE Collective have bought together old skool pioneers, “masters” infamous and a few for the future and built a hugely creative & innovative show that celebrates the movement universally known as “Street Art” with both depth and breadth. Â From freehand paintings, stencils and 30-ft high paste-ups (bill posters), to “Prancing Horse” engineered sculptures and giant “Mutoid” sculptures made from military waste (alot of references to the politically charged subject of war were presented), the exhibition had it all. You could also catch pole dancing robots gyrating to a robot djâ€™s â€˜space funk, and fire breathing bulls that kept watch over colorful and wickedly witty spray can art/graffiti.Â It was a visual fest all challenging, provoking, entertaining & more importantly – inviting all who choose to participate, to get their hands dirty, dream or scheme… as long as they leave with their knees a little scuffed.
Catch a glimpse of the experience below.
–Rich (going back,waaay back)Blk
Who is Rich Blk? A freelance fashion designer & poet who walks armed with a pen, a mic, an imaginary sewing needle, low slung jeans & a laptop thats too clean & calls Ladbroke Grove home, (Londinium!!) but is really a transient nomad, British Malawian Bajan English European son, nephew, brother & uncle to a double helping of boys, listens to more than bruk beats & hip hop… he’s 6,5″, 1 of 4, a UK 12, with all his own teeth and he is definitely NOT covered in chocolate.