flat 70’s Artist Fundraiser is supporting emerging marginalised talent [@_flat70]

flat 70’s Artist Fundraiser is supporting emerging marginalised talent [@_flat70]

flat 70 the non-profit arts organisation is hosting an artist’s fundraiser at the South London Gallery on July 26th to celebrate three years of programming. The fundraiser will run until August 23 2023 to garner support for emerging and early-career artists.

Founded in February 2020 by siblings Anthony and Senam Badu to hold space for communities of colour; the organisation carries out activities to benefit artists, designers, and cultural workers of African and Caribbean heritage, alongside other traditionally marginalised groups i.e., queer, trans, or differently-abled. 

The fundraiser will feature food, drink, music, and performances and a silent auction featuring work by various incredible emerging artists. The silent auction will also include a small selection of works generously donated by well-renowned practitioners, such as Ajamu X and Holly Graham, with more artists to be announced. All proceeds from the silent auction will help these artists maintain a sustainable practice and help flat 70 continue its mission of supporting emerging artists. The South London Gallery is an ideal venue for the event, committed to showcasing contemporary art and supporting emerging artists. The fundraiser promises to be exciting and inspiring, bringing artists, cultural workers, and supporters across London and beyond.

As we announce the fundraiser and the inspiring work that Flat 70 has done over three years of programming by the non-profit, I asked the Founders, Anthony, and Senam Badu, some questions to throw more light on their work at flat 70.

GUAP: What inspired you to create flat 70, and what challenges have you faced since its inception?

Anthony & Senam Badu: flat 70 emerged from the lived experience of being gentrified out of our community. Their childhood home, flat 70 Northchurch, in the renowned Aylesbury estate, was demolished in January 2020. Politics and financial considerations have resulted in their neighbours being evicted from Elephant & Castle and other parts of Southwark for the past 26 years and counting. The tale is well known and not unique, but Southwark, a front line for the rising wealth of central London, has seen particular brutality.

As for challenges, they have dealt with many. Running a non-profit community asset presents a variety of difficulties. Dealing with their landlord, developer Lendlease, who is in charge of Elephant & Castle’s town centre’s £4 billion gentrification, was a particularly challenging learning curve. Being run by corporate executives, middle managers, and intermediary organizations with little to no understanding of the value of community arts infrastructure has been disheartening. But every failure strengthened their resolve to hold space and program with hope for the threatened community.

GUAP: Can you tell me more about the artists and artworks that will be featured in the silent
auction at the fundraiser?

Anthony & Senam Badu: Last year, flat 70 launched a family circle initiative, where they linked up with five early career artists to showcase their work over three weeks each. The goal was to use the space they were occupying at the time over to these artists and connect them, where possible, to mid-career artists doing similar work. The selected artists were; Mwathi Gakonga, Kunti Dabo, Fiona Sonola, Rohan Ayinde, Nicola-Amy Thomas, Cameron Ugbodu, Ajamu X, and Holly Graham. The range includes painting, photography, sculpture, word, and textile arts, and we’re so pleased that after a year, we’re all feeling like a family in the truest sense.

GUAP: What are your fundraising goals and how will the money be used to support your programming and artists?

Anthony & Senam Badu: The fundraiser is a way to collate all the works that weren’t sold as part of the artists’ exhibitions at flat 70 and give a chance for the artists to present their work as a
group, as a family and as graduates of our first continuing exhibition series. It’s also a way to leverage the audience and facilities of our institutional partner South London Gallery, who have been working in our community for decades and have shared their knowledge and resources so generously since we crossed their radar. The funds raised will directly support the artists to sustain their practice. The remaining funds will be reinvested towards future flat 70 programming on a pay-it-forward model. It’s something we’re enjoying exploring. By attending a community arts event with art, good food, DJs, and traditional beverages, you can be a good art ancestor and donate what you can towards a future event.

Discover more from GUAP’s Arts and Culture Section here.