Amazing day! We had two things planned for the day. A street art tour in East London, and a Sunday roast. But before we got to any of that, we had to pack up, as this is our last day in London, and tomorrow morning, we will head out for Southampton.
The street art tour that we signed up for is a “free tour”, which means that there is no fee to sign up, and at the end of the tour, if you’re satisfied, you pay the tour guide what you think the tour is worth.
The tour started at the Whitechapel Gallery. This is an interesting place. It was founded in 1901 to bring great art to the people of east London, which was a radical idea at the time. It is free to all, and has a history of some amazing firsts: in 1939 Picasso’s masterpiece, Guernica, was displayed here on its only visit to Britain; in 1958 the Gallery presented the first major show in Britain of abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock. We saw an interesting exhibit there of “killed negatives” from a US government photography project in the 1930’s and 1940’s to document rural poverty.
Our guide was named Jessica, and she is originally from Vancouver, BC. She came to London for school, and wound up staying for the past seven years.
Jessica first gave us some history and background on street art and graffiti. We then walked around east London for about two hours looking at a variety of different types of street art. There are so many images! Here are just a few:
I was especially interested in street art because of the connection with what’s going in on Eugene with the 20×21 mural project. The City has been bringing in mural artists from all over the world, with a goal of having 20 world class murals around town in time for the 2021 world track championships. We didn’t see any works from the two UK artists that have come to Eugene so far … Hush and Matt Small … but we did see some from other very famous street artists. I loved the tour!
We were then supposed to go have a Sunday roast, but the tour ended at the old Truman Brewery, which isn’t actually a brewery. It is a space for all kinds of artists, as well as food carts and shops. It smelled wonderful while we ended the tour, that we decided to cancel our roast reservation and stay in the neighborhood for dinner. We walked around a bit and wound up in the Spitalfield Market at an Asian restaurant called Wagamama. It’s a company with multiple locations around the UK. We enjoyed our selections, and I even was able to get an Asian inspired G&T!
Tonight, we finished our packing and are getting ready to move on to our next adventure tomorrow.