Abattoir, 2016. Oil on canvas, 160 x 200cm. Private Collection.
In 1513 Henry VIII commissioned a Royal Dockyard to build his Tudor fleet on the site of what today we know as the Pepys Estate, Deptford. By the time of Samuel Pepys (the namesake of the estate) the dockyard had become a victualing site complete with animal market and abattoir. During the second world war the Luftwaffe heavily bombed this part of London and destroyed the site. The Pepys estate was subsequently built on this derelict land in the 1960’s. The painting references the old abattoir and the gang of dockers who used to work there. I also wanted to give the notion of the ‘gang’ a contemporary twist and juxtaposed the vintage dockers with the ‘Ghetto Boys’ a modern day Black British gang who terrorised the estate through the 1980’s to the present day. We have had gangs in England for centuries and I am interested in these social organisations, their identity and class and what they stand for - I feature in the painting too.