London SE1 community website

Arts project aims to capture essence of Elephant & Castle

London SE1 website team

Local artist Rebecca Davies has taken over a shop unit at the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre for the past two weeks for a project to celebrate the area's sense of community.

Arts project aims to capture essence of Elephant & Castle

"It's an observational project of a place that I really love and a community I feel a part of," says Rebecca, a Royal College of Art graduate who was brought up in the area.

"It's a kind of preservation of the community and of the shopping centre before the big change that's about to happen will happen," she says.

"We don't know when that will be but for now it's a thriving community and a busy shopping centre. I wanted to move in and be part of that."

Rebecca has teamed up with other artists and writers for the two-week residency at the shopping centre.

"We're making work in reaction to being at the Elephant," says Rebecca.

"I'm interviewing a lot of locals. Together with Eva Sajovic, the photographer, we've invited a lot of people from the book that she made and we've been re-photographing them and interviewing them in the space."

There has also been a programme of evening talks and events, including a presentation on the history of Elephant & Castle by Stephen Humphrey.

She adds: "It's been amazing being here. It's made so much sense moving in and I'm so glad that St Modwen gave us this opportunity. It's two weeks and we've really made the most of it."

Rebecca says that the project has had a warm response from the shopping centre's regular customers.

"Now they see this space and feel welcomed in," she says. "They can come in, have a cup of tea and talk about their routine when they come to the shopping centre, tell us about their lives and what the Elephant means to them."

The Elephant Project is at Unit 215, Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre, until Friday 12 November.

• Until recently unit 215 was occupied by the Royal Court's Theatre Local project, which earlier this month won the Dan Crawford Innovation Award at the Peter Brook Awards presented at the National Theatre Studio in Waterloo..

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