Brixton Tube’s latest mural will be Endurance by Shanti Panchal.
It launches officially on 17 November and will be on view for one year.
Endurance will be Panchal’s first public artwork since a 1993 tiled mural for the London Borough of Harrow.
He worked on anti-racist murals in London in the 1980s.
It is the sixth in a series of commissions at Brixton Tube station, following on from Joy Labinjo, Helen Johnson, Denzil Forrester, Aliza Nisenbaum and Njideka Akunyili Crosby.
The programme invites artists to respond to the diverse narratives of thelocal murals painted in the 1980s, the rapid development of the area andthe wider social and political history of mural making.
Endurance is a reproduction of a large-scale watercolour in which Panchal has painted a community portrait that observes our continued resilience and interdependency.
Shown in the image are three scenes of Londoners – the people includean artist, an NHS worker, a waiter, and people at work and at leisure.
In the background are buildings, statues and sections of open public space that draw on Brixton and the wider context of London.
Architecture seen behind the figures includes the Black Cultural Archives, Brixton Windmill and Tate Modern.
Present among the scenes are The African and Caribbean War Memorial and the Cherry Groce Memorial Pavilion in Windrush Square.
“These draw into the artwork monuments to places and people that wecelebrate, that we have lost, that been taken from us, where we gatherand build anew,” Transport for London said.
Deeply influenced by the country of his birth, India, Panchal’s work isconnected to his childhood years in Mesar, North Gujarat – the colours ofhis village, the embodied spirituality of family life and the intensity of asmall farming community.
The figures in Panchal’s work carry this interior world with them, their poses and faces reminiscent of early Jain miniature paintings.
The eyes in Panchal’s figures do not directly look at each other but the artist visually creates the suggestion of a third eye, which talks of a different connection between us of shared memory and spirituality.
Panchal’s artwork for Brixton was produced over six months with layers of watercolour pigment worked into the paper almost like the process of a fresco mural.
The depth of colour this creates draws on the hues of Panchal’s childhoodand creates an image as though sealed with a meditative filter.
There is an intentional slowness and care to this process of painting.
Panchal holds conversations with the figures he is painting, creating anintimacy between the artist and the scene, drawing together memory, experience and the present in a composition that reflects ourcontemporary moment.
During the 1970s and 80s, London became an important city for mural production. Murals from this period represent the political climate, socialcontext and communities who collaboratively made them.
Shanti Panchal’s Endurance centres this history of mural making inLambeth and London that were the starting point for Art on theUnderground’s programme at Brixton station.
In 1984, The Greater London Council (GLC) launched its anti-racist mural programme.
This commissioned four murals, one by Shanti Panchal and Dushela Ahmad in Tower Hamlets, which partly still exists at the crossroads of Dellow Street and Lowood Street in Shadwell.
A second by Keith Piper and Chila Kumari Singh Burman in Southall, a third from Lubaina Himid and Simone Alexander in Meanwhile Gardens, Notting Hill and the fourth in Brixton from Gavin Jantjes and Tam Joseph.
Shanti Panchal has produced several murals since his 1984 work in East London.
Central to his continued practice is the process of using paint to tell a story of a moment in time, encapsulating complexities, relationships and scenes from a community, from lives ever adapting to the present.
“It has been an exciting experience, painting for six months on the Brixton mural, exploring Brixton’s history, art and culture,” he said.
“I wanted to reflect and celebrate the vibrant cultural life in Brixton andLondon.
“We have suffered a great deal past few years but the resilience and healing powers of people have always found a way to overcome adversities throughout the history.
“People and places in the mural tell us a story of each community within Brixton and London.
“I feel that we have endured difficult and hard times in the past, facing challenges of the present and looking forward to a bright future.”
Justine Simons OBE, deputy mayor, culture and the creative industries, said: “Art on the Underground’s series of murals at Brixton have been a real success, enriching the journeys of those travelling through the station each day.
“In this new commission, Shanti has created a beautiful mural thatreflects the diversity and resilience of Brixton, while celebrating its richhistory and culture.
“I hope this work will inspire a new generation to continue the tradition ofart and design on London Underground.”
Eleanor Pinfield, head of Art on the Underground said the work“reverberates with the history of mural making in London, as we recognise Panchal’s participation in the GLC anti-racist mural programme of the 1980s. And yet, this new work speaks to the issues of today.
“Panchal’s triptych painting depicts the challenges and sorrows of thepast two years, alongside the monuments of contemporary Brixton,whilst his intimate figures speak to a universal resilience and hope for thefuture.
“Endurance is a work that will be enjoyed by millions of people as theycontemplate the artwork on their daily journeys.”
Art on the Underground has produced a Brixton Mural Map which is available online and in print from Brixton Underground station and Brixton Library and maps out eight of Brixton’s key murals and includes high quality images and historical information as well as dates, context and artists.
Shanti Panchal was born in Mesar, a village in Gujarat, India, and studied at the The Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy (“J J”) School of Art in Mumbai.
He came to England on a British Council scholarship to study at the ByamShaw School of Art, London from 1978 to 1980, and has lived and worked in London since.