The Foundation has collaborated with two artists to highlight the link between air pollution and human health, as part of We Are Lewisham. The exhibition of paintings by Sarah Stirk and Gina Allen is open for two weeks this summer, as part of the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture 2022 and will also host a day of children’s talks.
Airborne is an audio-visual art work that combines microscopic images of pollution in children’s spit, infrared photographs of children revealing veins and data maps showing illegal levels of pollution in London. A soundscape, interviews with parents and children affected by asthma and sculptures are exhibited to make the invisible threat of air pollution visible. With thanks to Bertha Foundation and Arts Council England.
Drawing Air focuses on the life of Ella. Artist Gina Allen worked with Ella’s family to produce a series of images of Ella, using dirt collected from the wheels and exhausts of cars.
Nearly 10,000 people in London (around 36,000 UK wide) die early ever year from long-term exposure to air pollution. Two million Londoners, including more than 400,000 children, live in areas which exceed legal limits for air pollution. Children are the most vulnerable to this pollution as permanent, lifelong damage can be caused to their developing bodies.
While acknowledging the sources and types of air pollution are many and various, both urban and rural, the material used highlights road traffic as one source of air pollution, inviting us to consider the human behaviours that influence the quality of the air that we breathe.