Mural plays and dances onto Mermaid Court

  • Date Friday, 22 September 2023

Further developments at Mermaid Court are creating a welcoming pedestrian friendly entrance to Borough High Street.

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Emma Charter

Eagle-eyed Banksiders may have noticed a new splash of colour just off Borough High Street. Better Bankside has recently commissioned multiple improvements to the historic alley that includes the Art Academy. Created by artist Farouk Agoro, the mural includes the words:

Stories play,
They dance,
They sway,
On the walls of memories,
Dreams of present stay.

This poem, also by Farouk Agoro, is a warm-hearted tribute to the many places, histories and biographies that make up the rich cultural area around Bankside. The mural is inspired by the many ‘ghost signs’ in the area – fading historic words or patterns that were painted on walls as advertisement or signposts. Farouk spent a lot of his childhood and adolescence roaming Mermaid Court and adjacent streets with a friend who lived nearby. His poem plays on the importance of these formative memories and how they are deeply rooted in a specific place – its smells, patterns, colours, identities and people.

The mural is part of ongoing improvements on Mermaid Court, as part of the wider Inns & Yards Improvement projects at Better Bankside. The mission of the project is to bring vibrancy and interest to the historic court, making it more friendly to pedestrians and create a welcoming entrance to Borough High Street.

The artwork is a collaboration by Farouk with Simon Memel (typographist) who was inspired by a local ghost sign to choose the font ‘Chromatic, compressed, semi-bold’ by London based Colophon foundry. The patterns were designed with support from Ross Chalmers (producer). The commission framework, concept and selection was developed by Sven Mündner.

Better Bankside received funding for this project from Southwark Council’s High Street Recovery Fund.