Balham residents encouraged to appreciate surroundings with community art exhibition


The ‘Balham sees Balham’ exhibition begins today.


By Olivia Parish

Balham is being transformed into an exhibition without walls, as winning images from photography experiment, Balham Sees Balham, go on display across the neighbourhood.

The two-week show is the product of an invitation to the community to submit pictures reflecting their perception of life and their surroundings locally.

Over 30 submissions were received and 13 specially selected photographs are now on display in storefronts and business windows ranging from a coffee house to a butcher.

I had a dream two years ago about an art window installation,” said Felicitas Lind, a Central Saint Martins’ student who lives in Balham.

“It was a big white window open to everyone, with the freedom for each person to interpret it any way they liked, and I’ve not been able to forget the idea since.”

Born in Vienna, a city rich in culture, some might question the 26-year-old’s decision to make her dream a reality here, but the Austrian is in no doubt.

“Balham doesn’t have its own brand yet, but people are becoming more and more proud to be from around here, and it was important and exciting for me to reflect that.”

The art student also expressed her hopes that putting the photographs in shop windows would encourage people to slow down in this age of immediacy, and appreciate their surroundings.

Participant and resident of the area since 1985, Brian Sharland, said: “All art needs an audience which is why I was happy to be involved in this project.”

Naming landscape photography his passion, Mr Sharland chose Tooting Common as his subject, labelling it an urban beauty spot and part of everyday Balham life.

Professional photographer, Louise Downham, also shared her enthusiasm: “I’m so excited to be part of this exhibition, it’s a lovely celebration of the area.

We had fun looking for unusual locations around Balham’s back streets and found some wonderful backdrops from the gritty to the glamorous – brightly painted walls, tunnels, gates, bridges.”

Culture vultures can find a map on the “Balham Sees Balham” website highlighting the stores where each of the selected images can be found.

Each of the framed images has a QR code linking the photograph to the exhibition website where passersby are invited to leave comments and keep the conversation going.

“Balham Sees Balham” is on display from 1 October-14 October 2013. For more information visit

(Image of Tooting Common frost) Photo Copyright: Brian Sharland, (Image of Couple) Photo Copyright: Louise Rose Photography, (Image of flowers at station) Photo Copyright: Colin White,

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