Embodiment of courage

Lee Lawrence, son of Dorothy “Cherry” Groce with artist Linett Kamala

Linett Kamala, the artist in residence at Lambeth town hall in Brixton this autumn has created “live art” in conversation with council staff, visitors, students and key figures in Brixton’s history.

It includes artworks that respond to the 1970s activism of Brixton resident Olive Morris and focus on some of the key issues facing young people and education today.

Kamala’s residency begins with the exhibition of Courage and Resilience. The works, made for Voices from the Front Line, a group show at 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning Gallery in 2018, are inspired by the political and social history of Railton Road, Brixton, home to the Caribbean community in the post Windrush period, and where 198 Gallery is located.

Linett Kamala
Linett Kamala

The artist’s predominantly monochrome paintings and sculptures merge collage with expressive hand script which she refers to as “freestyle calligraffiti”.

Kamala says her residency asks the question: “What would the activism of Olive Morris look like if she were alive today?”

She says: “In this very space in front of my painting (above) behind us, I met someone who I consider to be an embodiment of courage (which also happens to be the title of the painting) – Lee Lawrence, son of Dorothy “Cherry” Groce who was shot in her home during a police raid in Brixton in 1985.

“Lee was only 11 years old at the time and witnessed the event. His innocent mother was left paralysed from the chest down. You can only begin to imagine the trauma he experienced as a child.

“The incident sparked an uprising in Brixton. Lee and his family have fought a long battle for justice,” says Kamala.

The Cherry Groce Foundation announced last month a memorial on Windrush Square will be built by acclaimed architect Sir David Adjaye OBE to honour their mother and provide “a space for reflection”.