Come out of the closet, Croydon!

By - Wednesday 26th October, 2016

Time to stop hiding from our Croydon roots and embrace the modernism and hope that comes with our town

Image by The Town That Love Built, used with permission.

In 2016, Croydon is one of the unhappiest places to live in the UK, according to a Rightmove survey. To me it’s obvious that the central cause of this result is that Croydon hasn’t learnt to live with itself yet. It’s failed to come out of the closet and just admit that it is what it is. Time and time again we see people denying that they even live in Croydon. Everyone has their own little term: South London, Surrey, or even ‘the Kent-Surrey quadrant’. All these people try to deny their Croydon roots. This article is a call to arms, to end Croydon’s shame and self-loathing.

It’s time for Croydon to break from its drab, grey world of denial and enter a bright, colourful, gay world of self-acceptance. The time has come for us reclaim the word ‘Croydon’ and embrace the modernism that goes with it. All throughout this borough, innovative artists are bringing Croydon to the light with their work, by showcasing the best of Croydon rather than trying to hide it behind a mask.

The Town that Love Built‘ is one such project. Playing with the old and new of Croydon, artist Gavin’s portrayal of the fantastical ‘Croydon Lunar Project’, ‘Croydon Space Odyssey’ and ‘the Croydon Monster’ gives us an image of a future world with Croydon at the heart of it. Gavin’s use of repeated geometric patterns and bold colours reflect the already risen architecture of Croydon. Looking at Number One Croydon or the towers of Saffron Square, one can see how Gavin is molding the image of Croydon into a shape to be proud of. Gavin is using the power of his artistic work to reshape Croydon in the eye of the beholder. After seeing his work, one should no longer say that the Croydon skyline is crowded, but rather that we are reaching up to the moon and the stars.

Through art, everyday people are reshaping Croydon into a place to be proud of

Equally, less conventional artists like Tina Crawford have also been reshaping the texture of Croydon. Using her signature method of free hand embroidery, Tina is giving Croydon a wire-like make over with works such as ‘Girl with the Croydon Facelift’. These works are the perfect embodiment of the emerging Croydon, in which only the outline has been given, it is for us and our imagination to fill in the rest. Tina shows the diversity and the possibilities of Croydon. Never let it be said that the people of Croydon are conventional or trapped in straight concrete lines.

So fear not, if you are a closet Croydonian, there is hope out there. Through art, everyday people are reshaping Croydon into a place to be proud of. All around us, community groups are beginning to spring up out from Croydon’s paving stones to support the creative industries. The Modernist Society has a growing membership in Croydon which is emphasising the unique architecture of our borough and beginning to commission its own works. A community interest company has now even been set up to support artists and craftspeople in Croydon. While the world is changing around us, don’t sit on the side lines. Get involved. And come out of the closet, Croydon.

Bartholomew Konechni

Bartholomew Konechni

Bartholomew Konechni is a lifelong Croydon resident. By day Bartholomew works for Made in Croydon CIC promoting the arts and crafts of our borough. The rest of the time Bartholomew devotes his life to being the Croydon Central Labour Party Youth Officer.

More Posts