We have a unique gallery in Southwark Park, one organisation with two complementary spaces. One the Cafe Gallery is at the heart of the park whilst the second – Dilston Grove – sits on the southwest edge. Together they form the CGP Gallery and Judith Carlton is the new Director following the departure of the founder Ron Henocq in April this year. Our guest author Suzie Bedo and Judith talked about how she finds coming to work in Southwark Park each day.
In the middle of the park, the Bermondsey Artists Group – under Ron Henocq’s leadership – opened the Cafe Gallery over 30 years ago with the mission statement “access to art for all”. The community has always been central to their vision so no wonder I am sitting with the new Director, Judith Carlton in the gallery’s community allotment and discussing the past, present and future of the place, while visitors enjoy the little garden around us.
“…In October, we open a large scale exhibition by an SE16 artist, James Capper. James’ work will span both our park galleries, something we’ve only done once before…”
How did you hear about CGP? Are you local to SE16?
“I have been involved with several collaborations at the Dilston Grove Gallery while working at Matt’s Gallery in Mile End so I worked a lot with Ron and the CGP team. This was the very first gallery I visited when I moved to London from Newcastle and my friend even commented that ‘you need to work here’! Ever since, I’ve been a regular visitor. I live quite close by but not quite in SE16. But as I’m here almost every day, Southwark Park is very close to my heart and it’s my community too. It is a very special place and I feel very privileged coming to work every day in such a beautiful park – its a magical place to work.”
The gallery’s founder Ron left a great legacy with the community. What will happen this year?
“Ron has done tremendous work and set the bar very high for me; that just makes the pressure greater for me! We will certainly maintain his legacy and keep the local community at the very heart of the gallery. Ron showcased other artists’ works over the past 31 years, but – a little known fact – he is also a great artist himself. To celebrate Ron Henocq’s prolific artistic career, we are currently hosting his first major solo exhibition Works on Paper 1970-2015 until 4 October 2015. It’s a fantastic exhibition, celebrating Ron Henocq’s own artwork and what he has done for Southwark Park and the area more generally. We published a pictorial survey of Ron’s work to mark the opening of the exhibition which is available from our shop.
“…In 2016, we will be holding some high profile solo exhibitions by world-renowned artists, presenting emerging and over-looked artists from London and further afield…”
In October, we open a large scale exhibition by an SE16 artist, James Capper. James’ work will span both our park galleries, something we’ve only done once before. We’ll show examples of James’ internationally renowned machine sculptures alongside a rare survey of his preparatory sketches and drawings. We are also thrilled to be commissioning a new sculptural work for Dilston Grove called ATLAS, supported by The Henry Moore Foundation. Throughout the show, James Capper will host free demonstration events where we can see these fantastic machines actually ‘at work’.”
You mentioned feeling like a local. How does the Gallery engage SE16 residents?
“Following Ron’s lead, we will continue our extensive educational community projects, working with our neighbours from age 2 to 70+. Our unique initiative, the DIY Community Allotment continues each year into Autumn here in our beautiful gallery garden. We hold weekly sessions for pre-school children and their families to learn about growing their own vegetables. Our Seniors Art Schools continue to be very well attended; we offer challenging two-day courses for local seniors to develop their own artistic practice and improve their confidence so they can continue making art at home. Our annual Open exhibition – now in its 31st year and one of the country’s only unselected open exhibitions – continues to attract artists of all kinds, living and working in the borough.
We are excited to have launched our new website in September, providing more information for our visitors both in SE16 and beyond. In 2016, we will be holding some high profile solo exhibitions by world-renowned artists, presenting emerging and over-looked artists from London and further afield whilst continuing to champion the next generation of Southwark artists. We are proud to have some great exhibition partners in The Royal College of Art and Camberwell College of Arts as well our local secondary schools.”
Judith Carlton – Director
T: 020 7237 1230 E: email@example.com
Facebook: CGP Gallery Twitter: @CGP_London
CGP London (Cafe Gallery & Dilston Grove) Gallery by the Pool 1 Park Approach Southwark Park SE16 2UA