FILM: The story of Brixton murals premiere

Brixton Windmill mural c.1984

This Thursday (September 27), from 6pm, the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton will host the premiere of “If Walls Could Speak”, an extraordinary story of Brixton’s murals, their original artists and the people who live around them today.

The documentary features previously unseen archive footage from the 1983 painting of the Mauleverer Road Mural, and sees the reuniting of the Brixton Windmill artists with their work. Visually stunning, the documentary takes viewers on a trip into Brixton’s forgotten art history and bohemian legacy.

Director Charlotte Bill worked together with Ruth from London Mural Preservation Society, Vinnie O’Connell from Positive Arts and the Brixton community to uncover the story.

“When I met the mural artists I realised there was a lot more to them than just a very big painting in the street, ” the filmmaker said.

“The murals are such a striking part of the Brixton landscape I wanted to find out who had painted them and why; to find out if mural painting has died out or if it is alive and kicking?

She added: “I want to transport the audience back into that time of massive creative output in the face of recession, unemployment and the Cold War.”

Heritage Lottery funding made it possible to restore the Windmill mural, make the documentary and make a map guiding people around the murals. The map has been designed by children from Stockwell Primary School, who drew and painted their way around the many murals in their local area.

The documentary will also be shown at Lambeth Archives Open Day on 29 September and will be available on DVD and online. They will also be showing short film “Foundation” directed by Paul Burt.