Let us spray – Brixton’s spirited murals

Medya Gungor considers the significance of local murals and the latest that are emerging through the pandemic

Brixton Road bridge Stay In PeaceSome obvious and others secretive, the art murals found in Brixton are powerful pieces appreciated for their striking, colourful appearance; a true reflection of the high-spirited community where they reside.

New Mural by Dreph of Michaeal Johns
Michaeal Johns by by Dreph

The unmistakable Stay In Peace / Come In Love welcomes all immediately outside Brixton station, while a 20-foot recreation of local hero Micheael Johns towers over market traders on Pope’s Road.

Stretched across walls and shutters yet completely suited to their surroundings, these murals often convey messages of peace, love and hope, while at the same time encouraging individuals to consider their own interpretations.

Collaborative community murals acted as a visual commentary throughout the 1970s and 80s, capturing the shared emotions of residents throughout a time overshadowed by the tension and austerity of the Cold War.

Many explored the social context and political climate of these profound periods in Brixton’s history, as multicultural communities developed throughout post-war immigration and Brixton riots.

Children at Play Brixton Academy Mural, Stockwell Park Walk

Amid the changing times and social upheaval, the art emerging through the area was bold and dreamlike, often celebratory of the optimistic, exciting energy that brings Brixton to life.

In recent years, further artwork has appeared paying homage to artists who have touched the soul of a community where music is deeply rooted and intertwined with culture.

Artist Jimmy Cochrane at work on the Brixton Bowie mural in 2013
Artist Jimmy C (James Cochrane) at work on the Brixton Bowie mural in 2013

A recreation of pop icon Ziggy Stardust emerged on Tunstall Road in 2013 as a tribute to David Bowie. It was restored by artist Jimmy C in 2017. The faces of Biggie Smalls, 2Pac and various hip-hop legends can be found close by on Atlantic Road.

Mural of rappers
Atlantic Road rappers
Image: Maureen Barlin/Creative Commons

Since the pandemic began, new murals have started to appear, continuing to signify pivotal moments in our community history as they have done in the past.

Ty mural Somerleyton Road BrixtonA touching tribute was made last week by artist Carleen De Sözer, who revealed an exceptional creation on Somerleyton Road celebrating the life of hip-hop pioneer Ty who died earlier this month.

Murals on boarded-up Princeof Wales pub in Brixton
Prince of Wales

A new design for the Prince of Wales was unveiled shortly after the pub had boarded up its exterior, curated by three artists (@Deanio_x, @Seen_k26, @TasnimMahdy) sharing their messages of strength and resilience, acknowledging the contributions of the NHS staff and all key workers throughout this time.

These latest additions are a reminder that Brixton’s artwork is compelling and unique throughout time in praising both famous and unsung members of its community.


Watch now: Brixton murals film

1 COMMENT

  1. Another beautiful description of the Brixton by Medya Gungor. Enjoying every bit of it. I will have to make it my business to walk to the back streets of Brixton. What is to lose?
    Thanks guys

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