On The March: New Exhibition of Ed Hall’s work

What London Printworks Trust likes the most about Ed Hall is that his wonderful work was born in Brixton, Lambeth, moments away from our workshop facilities.  If you’re not sure who Ed Hall is, there is a strong chance you’ll have seen his work at some point over the past 30 years on the streets and in the news without ever realising one man was behind the creation.

Ed moved to london after working as a Chartered Architect in Liverpool, working first for London Borough of Greenwich and then Lambeth in the late 1970s and early 1980s. During his time at Lambeth the council adopted a policy of direct confrontation with the newly elected Conservative government led by Margaret Thatcher. Ed became intrinsic to the UNISON Lambeth branch, where thanks to his drawing skills he was asked to design campaign posters and banners. This was the beginning of what was to become his full time career.

From the early 1980s onwards, Ed has made over 500 banners from Trade Unions, campaigns, Death in Custody protests and even Art. They are huge cotton drill constructions of appliqué and fabric painting created in his studio-garage in Blackheath. Every banner is a result of talks, research, sketches, visits and photography and can take up to 100 hours to complete each banner. He has become a important part in the powerful British tradition of banner making which stretches back hundreds of years to early trade society and reform banners.

The People’s History Museum, Manchester is currently exhibiting Ed Hall’s first solo show of banners. It is a cacophony of important social and political campaigns reflecting the strength of action of working people. One of his most famous banners is now a iconic reference of Brixton’s fight for racial equality as a multi-cultural area (as pictured above). After the awful day in April 1999, where a nail bomb was set off in the crowded Brixton Market, this banner was carried at a protest by Brixton residents from the site.

“If you are a fascist, homophobe, warmonger or a person with too much power, then it’s likely Ed has socked it to you – with a banner”                                                                            Alex Miller

Through the 1999 Lambeth Country Fair UNISON stand, Ed met artist Jeremy Deller, who was impressed with the banners displayed. Six months later Jeremy asked Ed to take part in the Tate Britain exhibition Intelligence. Ed’s work has continued to be well received by the art world; bought by the British Council, exhibited internationally and toured as part of the Folk Archive of Alan Kane and Jeremy Deller. Fans can also look forward to a future collaboration between Jeremy and Ed to be displayed at the Hayward Gallery in 2012.

The People’s History Museum also commissioned a wonderful short interview with Ed Hall for the exhibition, made by Platform Films and commissioned by RMT who are supporting the exhibition. It can also be viewed below:

We cannot recommend Ed Hall’s work, or this wonderful exhibition enough. It is vast and varied, with sketches and interviews to really give insight into his work and the protests they have appeared in.

The exhibition at the People’s History Museum is on until 30 October 2011, free admission and open every day.

To find out more, follow this link to the People’s History Museum website.

All images are courtesy of the People’s History Museum, Manchester. Copyright is held over all banners, photographs and work which cannot be reproduced without prior permission. 

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About London Printworks Trust

London Printworks Trust is the centre of excellence for textile print. Our passion has continued for twenty years since establishing ourselves as a charity to encourage professional artists, designers and emerging talent to learn, to share ideas, to produce new work and to fulfil their creative potential. Through our specialist hand printing equipment and workshop facilities we support and nurture creativity in people from the local community of Brixton, and across London. We are developing a new programme of residency places, courses, talks and new open access in response to the changes to funding. We appreciate and thank the support from our Board, Volunteers and Freelancers, without whom we would not have survived the changes to our funding. Continued support from The Leverhulme Trust and Lambeth also helps us to make a difference.
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