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We Are Lewisham, London Borough Of Culture 2022 Presents CLIMATE EMERGENCY, a Series Of Commissions Exploring Climate and Activism

The event included the unveiling of artist Dryden Goodwin's Breathe:2022 produced by Invisible Dust, and a panel exploring how the arts can inspire climate action.

We Are Lewisham, London Borough Of Culture 2022 Presents CLIMATE EMERGENCY, a Series Of Commissions Exploring Climate and Activism

Today, Wednesday 18 May, We Are Lewisham, London Borough of Culture 2022 called for action on the climate emergency, with the launch event for a programme of commissions set to inspire and shock people to act. The event included the unveiling of artist Dryden Goodwin's Breathe:2022 produced by Invisible Dust, and a panel exploring how the arts and culture can inspire climate action, with panellists including artist, Dryden Goodwin; co-founder of Choked Up, Anjali Raman-Middleton and Kas Darley, Artistic Director of Teatro Vivo.

Throughout 2022, a series of art, performance, spoken word and dance events that will bring critical issues to the fore, from air pollution and the impact of climate change on racialized and working class communities, to the importance of sustainable living and the future of the earth for youth and generations to come. In a commitment to tackle the urgent environmental crisis in its London Borough of Culture programme, Lewisham has collaborated with many local organisations including Trinity Laban and Lewisham Music.

Launching the programme will be artist Dryden Goodwin's reimagination and extension of his seminal 2012 Breathe artwork a decade on as a flagship commission for Lewisham, London Borough of Culture, working with art science organisation Invisible Dust and Imperial College London.

Breathe:2022 by Dryden Goodwin is a multifaceted artwork combining over 1,000 new drawings that will appear as still and moving images on sites close to the heavily polluted South Circular Road from 18 May - December 2022. Relating to the death of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah and the growing battle for climate justice, it connects this global health emergency to the daily lives of local Lewisham residents and activists.

Six individuals from across the borough bear witness to the impacts of air pollution - and the power of activism - through their bodies and breath. Participants from local activist groups including Choked Up, Mums for Lungs, Clean Air for Catford, and Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, mother of Ella and founder of the Ella Roberta Family Foundation, as well as Goodwin's now 15 year old son and a younger school child, have been drawn by the Lewisham based artist as they 'fight to breathe'.

Drawings from Breathe:2022 will appear as large-scale zoetropic sequences of posters on railway bridges and the side of Old Town Hall, Catford. The artwork will also be presented as still and moving images on a range of JCDecaux roadside hoardings, and will culminate in a large-scale projection animation over 1000 drawings in November 2022 to close the programme. Appearing as a staged visual takeover of the borough over six months, starting in the choked underpasses of busy bridges, through to roadside hoardings and buildings, and finally projected up high - Breathe:2022 asks us to both stay with the claustrophobia of 'fighting for breath' but begin to look upwards and outwards, towards the possibilities of community action and a clean air future for all.

Commissions also include Sun & Sea, the theatrical installation that stunned audiences at the 2019 Venice Biennale, earning its all-female creative team the coveted Golden Lion. The UK premiere will transform the Albany main house with 13 vocalists and 10 tons of sand. A new performance, Hope 4 Justice, commissioned by Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, will be co-created by composer ESKA, Young Person's poet laureate Cecilia Knapp, choreographer Sarah Golding and involve 1000 young people from across the borough.

Created by Deptford-based Sounds Like Chaos in partnership with the Albany, Climate Home will be a new low-carbon creative space designed and built by the young people of Lewisham, housing an eclectic climate-focused programme of performances and events led by young creatives and local partners.

The Climate Emergency programme will include the World Premiere of a new site-specific project created by director, co-writer and Lewisham resident Melly Still with composer and co-writer Max Barton. The Gretchen Question is co-commissioned by the Albany for We Are Lewisham and produced by Fuel, and will be presented at the Shipwright, a new theatre in the grounds of Master Shipwright's House.

Meanwhile, Lewisham-based site specific theatre company, Teatro Vivo, have taken up residence at the heart of Lewisham Council as 'Artists of Change' within the Climate Emergency Team. Connecting with local people and groups across the borough on their environmental concerns and hopes for the future, their findings has shaped a new performance for June 2022. Happening out on the streets in each of the borough's 19 wards, it will feature a professional cast working alongside local community groups.

There will also be a new collaboration between visual artists Ackroyd & Harvey and performance poet Zena Edwards - and a London first outing of Greek artist Andreas Angelidarkis' installation Seawall.

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, said: "The power arts and culture have to inspire change is immense and Breathe:2022 is a great example of this work in action.

"This exciting series of artworks tackles big issues that impact Lewisham residents and the wider community with hard-hitting and creative installations that will encourage us all to reflect on the importance of sustainable living.

"Throughout the year, art, performance, spoken word and dance events will give communities a voice, showing culture is for everyone - and this is exactly what the London Borough of Culture programme is all about!"

Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy said: "Cities have a vital role to play in tackling air pollution and the climate emergency and it's great to see Lewisham taking action and raising awareness about these twin dangers as part of their year as London Borough of Culture. These commissions will help to highlight the devastating impacts that air quality and climate change have on the lives of Londoners, particularly for already vulnerable communities."

Gavin Barlow, CEO and Artistic Director of the Albany, said: "This is fantastic programme, bringing together acclaimed international pieces such as Sun & Sea and NEST Collective as well as highlighting the grassroots activism happening right here in our borough through the involvement of local school children, young people and creatives. The Climate Emergency affects us all and this is an opportunity to come together and draw attention to the positive action we can all take to make a difference."

Vicki Amedume, Creative Director of the Albany, said: "I'm so proud of the programme we have been able to curate, with some incredibly impactful pieces appearing across the borough. We believe that culture and creativity can make a real change on urgent issues around social justice and the climate crisis."


Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham, said; ""We're delighted to host Dryden Goodwin's Breathe: 2022 here in Lewisham. This world renowned art installation reminds us how important clean air is for our environment. This work kick starts our London borough of Culture focus on climate change and we have more events coming throughout the year."

The Climate Emergency programme is part of We Are Lewisham, London Borough of Culture 2022, presented by Lewisham Council and the Albany.

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