flat 70, the local gallery creating community around culture

flat 70, the local gallery creating community around culture

Launched in 2021, flat 70’s Culture Club primarily focuses on shows that feature black artists and/or have black curatorial involvement.

Since the first lockdown, we’ve spoken to countless creatives and creative enthusiasts who speak about the difficulties they face in finding community whilst navigating and engaging the creative industries. Additionally, with the ongoing displacement of racialised communities across London, an unstable economy and the countless socio-political issues across the world, many people are experiencing feelings of mental distress and alienation.

“Black artists have had it rough in a time marked by uprising, trauma and a clear need for healing and justice. With fewer opportunities to exhibit, collaborate and connect with the public, a sustainable practice is threatened for all but the most fortunate artists.” – Anthony Badu, Co-Founder and Arts Director of flat 70.

Created by Senam and Anthony Badu, the aim of the group tours is to create an inclusive community activity that helps to promote good mental health through relationship building, self-expression, and reflection. The duo have spent time establishing progressive connections with local cultural workers and arts organisations in their network. Founders of their own Elephant Park-based gallery, flat 70, is a creative space for diverse communities upheld by 5 core pillars: artist development, artist care, financial empowerment, cultural celebration, and cultural exchange. It is a function-fluid space for artists, designers, and cultural workers of African and Caribbean heritage as well as other traditionally marginalised groups. 

“Our family grew up on an infamous housing estate that was constantly misrepresented and is gradually disappearing. For our family, home means a space of rest, refuge, and celebration. flat 70 was our door number which we saved before demolition and fixed onto our new space. Working with family in mind makes it easier to centre care, trust, communication and dedication which are essential tools for a socially engaged art practice. We were forced to give the council the keys to our childhood home and in the same month established flat 70 as a space to facilitate exchange between the emerging and existing community. We see anyone willing to put in the work to support our project as family and together, we can make a new home that celebrates arts & culture.” – Senam Badu, Co-Founder and Communications Director at flat 70

The co-founders hope to increase the frequency of Culture Club, providing weekly tours across the UK, and eventually expand into schools, to ensure that young people considering a career in the arts & the general public have access to creativity, culture and environments in ways that centre care and celebration. At present, the club is run by enthusiastic volunteers but eventually, would like Culture Club to support arts workers with payment for their time. They’d also like Culture Club to support arts education as part of the national school curriculum and to facilitate school trips up and down the country to see local Black art. The Black British experience isn’t limited to London and our network extends the breadth of the country, as all the UK regions and its arts institutions come to terms with a post-BLM cultural landscape.

For more information, please visit www.flat70.co.uk

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Elsie Cullen