Help to crowdfund this community landmark in Bermondsey

July 31, 2019

Artist's Impression - Cornerstone, Bermondsey St at Whites Grounds, SE1

The Cornerstone is a public collaboration art piece led by artist Austin Emery working with the people of Bermondsey and the wider community which will solidify connections across the local neighbourhood, London and beyond. This monumental landmark stone sculpture will incorporate 100+ stone carvings created by public participants of open community engagement workshops achieving a living art heritage.

Currently, this project is crowdfunding to raise the £86,000 required for the production and installation of the Cornerstone to the street corner at Bermondsey Street and Whites Grounds, London, SE1. Earlier this month the project was awarded a massive £50,000 pledge of support from Mayor of London. The all or nothing crowdfunding campaign runs until 12 August, 2019. To date, there is still £23,000+ to raise in order to reach the crowdfund target of £86,000+. 

Through this challenging time in history marked by divisive political and cultural happenings, we are bringing people together using art-making (stone carving) as a tool to enhance social cohesion, having fun and be creatively productive together! Pieces of stone, hand-carved by children and adult participants from Whites Grounds Estate, Bermondsey Street and the wider community during open public workshops, will be permanently assembled into this totemic monument along side stone fragments of historic London including Southwark Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament and even bones from the River Thames. Together this will form a living art heritage, connecting people across time, social and geographical boundaries. The work of yesterday’s stone masons will exist along side the contemporary work of today’s community.

The Cornerstone brings people together through public artistic engagement, providing a sense of belonging and ownership. People form strong connections to each other, their neighbours and the wider community whilst making a major physical change to a public space. Our project helps overcome the challenges of gentrification and the ever increasing wealth gap within inner city multi-cultural areas. By celebrating our diversity and creating opportunity for life-long established Londoners to work along side immigrant new-comers, we form bonds based on equality, mutual respect and positive partnerships. The resulting empowerment improves the well-being and self-worth of the individuals and community as a whole. This sculpture will exist through time beyond our lives into the future. The opportunity to feel connected to the creation and realisation of this heritage gives participants and pledge supporters a rare and profound chance to truly make their mark on London, 'set in stone'.

This project follows the success of The Shared (2014), an award-winning sculpture which was created through a similar process by local artist/stone mason, Austin Emery, who has lived and worked closely with this community over the past 10 years. Working with the 'social fabric' of people, materials and space to create public art, telling stories stitched together with stone, which is often reclaimed and recycled, reinvigorating history and creating fresh heritage. The Cornerstone is about the empowerment of people coming together to create a focal point right in the heart of the Bermondsey Street community... 'Working together, making a stone landmark, transforming the material, the space, ourselves and eachother... our physical and social reality.' (Lead artist, Austin Emery)

Support the Cornerstone here.

Public participants carving their pieces of the Cornerstone, Whites Grounds Estate

Support the Cornerstone here.

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