Brixton to build permanent memorial to Bowie

Computer graphic of the Bowie memorial
Computer graphic of the Bowie memorial

A permanent memorial to David Bowie is planned for Brixton, his place of birth. The nine-metre high memorial will be located in Tunstall Road opposite Brixton tube and near the Bowie mural. The structure will turn the make-up flash from the cover of Bowie’s 1973 album Aladdin Sane into a giant sculpture made from spray-painted 20mm steel plate.

A crowdfunding campaign for £990,000 was launched today (Tuesday 21) at the South Bank. Visit Facebook  for details. Speakers at the launch included Binki Taylor, chair of Brixon Pound, the artist Charlie Waterhouse of This Ain’t Rock’n’Roll, together with Zac Monro of Channel 4’s Grand Designs and the project manager Tomas Carter.

This Ain’t Rock’n’Roll

Brixton Pound runs a pay-as-you-feel community café in Brixton and features Bowie on its £10 notes. Creative agency This Ain’t Rock’n’Roll designed the Brixton Pound “David Bowie” notes.

Binki Tayor said: “This is an incredibly exciting moment. There has been a huge amount of work going into this behind the scenes, and we are delighted to have developed the plans in consultation with David Bowie’s team in London and New York. It’s a spectacular and very fitting tribute, in Brixton where the star was born.”

Charlie Waterhouse, of This Ain’t Rock’n’Roll, said: “It’s a monument that’s at once baffling yet immediately familiar – a reminder that there’s always another narrative. Startling, stupid and utterly joyous in equal measure this is a piece of public art that the whole community can be proud of.

“It’s totally Brixton, utterly Bowie. Where the Man Who Fell to Earth fell to earth, a heartfelt tribute, from one London character to another.”

Lambeth council leader Lib Peck said: “Brixton has become central to David Bowie’s huge legacy, so what better place for this stunning and imaginative memorial to this locally born legend. This is a bold and ambitious proposal, and I’d encourage his fans to really get behind the scheme by supporting this crowdfunding push.”

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  1. Totally amazing idea – true Brixton. Energizing and creative feel
    I really hope this goes ahead…

  2. It’s actually artistically incorrect. The flash is a subtly different shape compared to the face painting. I just see a stylised map of Scotland. At any rate, not there, please. As so far conceived, it’s just a giant advertising logo blocking a very important open space (the sense of space above head height is just as important as at ground level there). It would be so much better sticking out the side Morleys roof, like that shark in Oxford. Look it up, you’ll see what I mean.

    Alternatively, make it a bit wider at the bottom and put a WC in there. Not being disrespectful to DB, just thinking that people would actually go out of their way use it instead of pissing in the streets and the doorways. That would be a really valuable legacy.

  3. Regardless of my appreciation for David Bowie’s incredible music career, I also think this is an awful idea and agree with the criticisms already posted. It would be helpful for Lambeth Council to arrange a public consultation on issues such as these, but as a recent aside there was limited interaction with the community when the arches were proposed for redevelopment by National Rail and Lambeth either.

    This looks as though it’ll be an eyesore and will undermine the more subtle mural which was erected prior to Bowie’s untimely death. It feels as though it’s something record companies and urban regeneration groups may find enticing, but it’ll only end up exemplifying the collective preference for remembering certain individuals with a connection to Brixton whilst relegating many other people who have made important contributions to the local area or who originated in Brixton and there is equal argument for memorialising in a sensitive way. This will be the first thing people see when stepping out the tube and I feel that’s in bad taste. Can’t we find a way to remember Bowie’s great music without resorting to such an enormous and crass design in a highly congested (and polluted) street?

  4. I don’t like this. I love Bowie and Brixton but this is not right. I agree with urbanspaceman in regard to the content and style. It’s clumsy and not refined enough – too grandiose. I am supportive of the people behind this but please let’s have a brainstorm and rethink.

  5. Great idea, the perfect location. It will be automatically identified with Brixton and it is the sort of thing that Bowie would have liked. Irreverent and groundbreaking.

  6. This is a terrible idea. Bowie’s connection to Brixton is tenuous: yes, he was born there, but moved to Bromley when he six years old. And his time in Bromley was much more formative – so put the sculpture there. The sculpture’s disproportionate size intimidates, looming over the already congested streetscape. Adequate funds must be permanently ring-fenced to maintain what will inevitably be a major graffiti magnet. But worst of all, the sculpture possesses no artistic merit. It’s mind-numbingly banal and literal, lacking any spark of artistic creativity

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