New work unveiled at Brixton Underground Station

photo by Angus Mill

5 more minutes is the new work by Joy Labinjo unveiled today at Brixton Underground station.

Commissioned by Art on the Underground, this large-scale work illuminates and celebrates the hair salon as a community centre and an important slice of Brixton life.

Having grown up in the UK with British-Nigerian heritage, Joy Labinjo explores ideas of memory and belonging in relation to her personal experience and the wider Black British female culture.

The work captures an intimate moment in time on a busy morning – women coming together for an important activity. It is full of life and energy and tells a story – both personal and cultural – that is an essential element of the Brixton experience. It also makes it clear that hairdressing is a serious business; a visit to the salon is a good time to socialise – but with a purpose. The work has a nostalgic feel, and it’s no great surprise to learn that the artist used to travel to Brixton for the specific purpose of having her hair done. 

Joy Labinjo, said: “I am delighted to create this work and it is a homecoming of sorts. Brixton is where I have worked for the past few years and visited my entire life. Its vibrancy and people inspire me daily and have done for many years. As soon as you get out of the station, you know you’ve arrived: the smell of incense; the buskers; the street raconteurs; the fashionable looks; there’s swagger, charisma and thought all around. It’s irresistible. I wanted to make work that reflects not only my own lived experiences but other Black women in London and in the UK. In a city undergoing gentrification and, in a country, in spite of recent discourses, still sceptical of race, immigration and Black culture, the beauty of Brixton needs to be celebrated and protected. It is a living and breathing memory and experience – containing a history and present we can and should all call our own.”

This work is the fifth in a series of commissions at Brixton station, following on from Helen Johnson, Denzil Forrester, Aliza Nisenbaum and Njideka Akunyili Crosby. The programme invites artists to respond to the diverse narratives of the local murals painted in the 1980s, the rapid development of the area and the wider social and political history of mural making. 

5 more minutes will be on show in Brixton Underground station for he next year.

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