On this route, I’d pass under a railway bridge where there’d be a massive, blue monopoly style sign, stating Brockley in all caps. I loved seeing it on my way, and further loved that this corner of South-East London was fortunate to be graced with beautiful artwork.
I’ve since come to find this piece is implicated in a borough-wide theme, these monopoly-inspired murals adorning railway bridges in the likes of nearby Nunhead and Catford, to name a few. Who is responsible, I hear you ask? None other than Banksy! Well, the not quite – it’s Brockley-based mural artist Lionel Stanhope – the Brockley Banksy, if you will.
Beyond bridges, Stanhope’s stencils streets with local figures, paying homages to the likes of Brockley-born footballer Ian Wright and Tokyo 2020 Olympian Alex Yee, whose commemoration entailed altering the Brockley bridge sign with his gold medal success.
Also deserving of a medal, Stanhope awards one to NHS workers in his wonderful recreation of a George Cross, tailored to the times with a rainbow ribbon. He echoes this sentiment further in depicting the NHS as best placed on a bed of blue, its ‘S’ aptly replaced with that of Superman’s.
These are just a few examples of his work as covid commentary – he’s even extended to adapt paintings of the past to fit times of the present, placing PPE in reforming the works of Caravaggio and van Eyck.
In endeavouring to beautify my local area, Stanhope helps remind me of why art is important. Not only is it great to look at, but I feel like it reflects the local ethos of the area, which my community can take great pride in, too. That’s why I’m happy to say the South-East London is a stage for Stanhope.