Electric Patterns Series: Helen Murphy

Helen Murphy's Pattern

Wandered down Electric Avenue after hours recently? Noticed anything different?!

After overcoming multitudinous obstacles, the Electric Patterns Project (produced by The Brixton Project, funded by Lambeth Council and National Lottery Heritage Fund) is going live and brightening up a street near you with bold, colourful abstractions of Brixton’s essential spirit. So take a twilight stroll and keep your eyes peeled to spot every design. To find out more about the project please see here.

In each article of this series we will be highlighting these innovative heritage- inspired designs and letting you know where you can see them for yourself. To find out more about this local creative opportunity, the artists selected and what inspired their designs continue reading. 

Fruit and Veg 

Location:19 Electric Avenue, SW9 8JP

Artist: Helen Murphy

This design is inspired by Electric Avenue and its electric currents West Indian food and ingredients, patterned fabrics, street fashions and the abundance of salons and shops selling all kinds of hair, products and accessories, echoing the wonderful variety of woven and printed fabrics. This design layers photographs of a variety of foods found in the market which are suspended across the shutters in a surreal, humorous homage to Magritte. Floating amongst the green coconut clouds… in heaven perhaps…. these humanoid vegetables remind us that we are what we eat. The design is a homage to Murphy’s late partner, a Jamaican Brixtonian whose mother taught her how to cook breadfruit, now one of her favourites. You will also see chilies and cassava bunches amongst this feast, alongside special purple bananas. 

Originally from New Zealand and having travelled widely, Helen Murphy gravitated to Brixton in 1990, and made it her home. In 2006 she graduated from Goldsmiths College with an MA in Textiles, informing her appreciation for tactility, pattern, fluidity and colour. Helen’s work spans many media from drawing and printmaking to fashion, sculpture and multimedia installations, as well as curating. More recently she has transferred these skills to raw chocolate making, which she sells locally. In 2009 Helen worked with Friends of Brixton Market to save and transform the indoor markets, particularly Brixton Village, for which they won listed status.