‘Forget the gallery, art belongs in the open air’

Project part of Hampstead Summer Festival

Friday, 24th June — By Dan Carrier

camden24 Image 2022-06-24 at 1.51.28 PM (12)

Preparations for the unveiling of new artworks at Keats House

ART is too important to be left solely on gallery walls, say organisers of a new mural series due to be unveiled in Hampstead this week.

Up to 100 new artworks are being installed along the garden walls of the Grade I-listed Keats House in Keats Grove.

They are part of the annual Hampstead Summer Festival and have been created with the help of volunteer artists to create a frieze using John Keats, the romantic poet, as the inspiration.

Co-organiser Isabel Langtry, the director of the Hampstead School of Art, has helped curate the show. As a sculptor with eight pieces on display in public around the world, using the poet’s front garden fence as an ad hoc gallery fits Ms Langtry’s views of where art belongs.

“Making art accessible for all people is so important to me,” she said. “From pyramids and temples of ancient Egypt to the streets today, sculpture in public places is so important to inspire visual consciousness. I have public sculptures a in open public spaces. I am interested in art being out there.”

She added: “It is great to hang works on the street, a very visible space. Everyone has a right to walk down the street. They are tactile, they add to the experience, you can touch them and almost smell the paint. They are there to be experienced. And using Keats Grove, Keats House and Keats’ work as the starting point has produced some very interesting ideas from our artists.

“His poems are about things that translate and are of interest to us all – lightness, dreams, aspirations, trees, birds. Keats’ poetry is accessible – it is about things we can all recognise and appreciate.”

The murals include works by pupils at St Margaret’s, St Christopher’s, The Academy, Fleet School, Lyndhurst House, the Hampstead School of Art, Hampstead Community Centre and individual artists.

The works will remain in place for three weeks during the festival. Keats Library and the grounds of Keats House are hosting numerous events, starting on Saturday, with the murals providing an instant backdrop.

Ms Langtry added: “Art is just a wonderful addition to human environment.

“Murals are not as permanent as sculpture, and that also gives them a charm. We felt painting was something accessible to all ages and abilities, and we’re delighted with the results so far.”

For more information visit www.hampsteadsummerfestival.com

Related Articles