Megan Pickering is one of the more intriguing of the current crop of London-based artists. It isn’t easy to pin down what it was about the artist from Durham that first ignited curiosity and demanded we take a closer look? Was it the powerful sound of that film she made at the Aylesbury Estate last year as it echoed around the warehouse that housed that Play show in East London that she was part of? Or maybe the miner strike food list board that appeared in one of the car park shows in 2014? Or maybe those eye lashes? or maybe the questions she throws up? The questions she asks herself? Her provoking zines? Her proud working class heritage?
“The forced regeneration of Southwark and other parts of London is pushing working class people out of the city. As part of the gentrification of Southwark, Aylesbury Estate is due to be demolished. Homes that are rebuilt will not benefit the existing residents. The majority of these homes will be completely unaffordable for current residents. Plans to create a small amount of ‘affordable’ housing are false: these homes will be at 80% of market value: not affordable for people on a low to average wage. These changes are not in the interest of people, they are for profit.
Residents at Aylesbury Estate as well as activists from surrounding areas have been fighting to stop the estate from being demolished. This year the estate was occupied, in response to which Southwark Council spent £140k on building an exclusion/containment fence around the estate, blocking occupiers in it, and forcing residents to go through private security gates before being allowed to enter their own homes.
This video follows me walking around Aylesbury Estate, the morning after protesters tore down the fence, which was then quickly replaced. This is just one example of social cleansing in London that needs to be challenged”.