David Bowie mural in Tolworth

Kingston David Bowie exhibition to open commemorating Ziggy Stardust persona

An exhibition exploring David Bowie and the Kingston music scene is set to open this month at Kingston museum.

The presentation of fan stories, memorabilia and original album art is intended to mark the 51st anniversary of the creation of Bowie’s legendary Ziggy Stardust persona at the Toby Jug pub in Tolworth on 10 February 1972.

Bowie and Beyond, as the name suggests, also celebrates the Kingston music scene more generally, showcasing heritage researcher, Jarek Zaba’s discoveries trawling through Kingston Polytechnic’s (now Kingston University) archive of visiting performers.

TURN AND FACE THE STRANGE: Poster promoting Kingston’s Bowie and Beyond exhibition

Explaining the split focus of the exhibition, Zaba, 34, said: “We were keen to talk about the Kingston music scene overall and specifically venues, whether they are pubs or clubs.

“We want to mark the loss of those venues and celebrate those that are still going.”

One display will detail the history of Bacchus, a local nightclub in Kingston’s historic marketplace.

“I really wanted to dig into that history. Primarily because when I was at Kingston I was at Bacchus basically every week. It has a real cult following,” he said.

Zaba has teased some of the treasures on display at the exhibition, which opens free to the public on 31 March, like original artwork from Terry Pastor, who illustrated the iconic covers for Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust (1972) and Hunky Dory (1971) albums.

It will feature too analysis by Kingston University’s Professor Will Brooker, an author who as part of a research project, lived as Bowie for a year, documenting his experiences.

Wanting to keep Kingston residents’ remembrances central, Bowie and Beyond will feature the words of Tolworth pensioner Peter Sweeney, who partied at the Toby Jug back in 1972.

The showcase will run until 16 September and is supported by the heritage lottery fund.

The center piece of Bowie and Beyond is a replica of the mural which commemorates the musician’s famed gig at the Toby Jug, situated by the A3 on the Tolworth Broadway.

In July 2021, the council announced its plans to extend the Tolworth Road Junction, only recently confirming that the mural is to be destroyed in the redevelopment.

KEEP YOUR ELECTRIC EYE ON ME: Bowie mural in Tolworth – Credit: Julia Gavin photography

Zaba explained that the news has come as a shock to the AMP (Art Music and Pop Fashion) team responsible for the exhibit.

He has implored residents of Kingston to oppose the decision by writing to their councillors.

He said: “This incredible piece of artwork, that celebrates this incredible bit of history. It would be a crying shame to lose it.”

For more information about Bowie and Beyond visit Kingston museum’s website here.

Featured image credit: Julia Gavin photography

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