What do David Bowie, Adele and Rio Ferdinand all have in common? They are all part of the National Portrait Gallery’s latest display which celebrates the inspirational figures who have lived or worked in Lambeth or Southwark. 

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Adele by Julian Broad, 2008. (c) Julian Broad and National Portrait Gallery, London. 

The new display titled Creative Connections: South of the River, is a new and free display at the National Portrait Gallery to celebrate the wealth of talent that has been found in Southwark and Lambeth over the years.

GCSE Art students from St Saviour’s and St Olave’s School in Southwark and artist Simon Terrill have used the Gallery’s Collection of portraits of famous south London sitters to develop a series of works, culminating in a panoramic elevated view of the school, which doubles up as a magically-lit group portrait of 180 students.

The display will feature the student’s work alongside portraits of Brixton born David Bowie, Brixton resident Adele and footballer Rio Ferdinand, who lived on Peckham’s Friary estate.

Other photographs featured in the display include: musician Roots Manuva, scientist and environmentalist James Lovelock, writer Malorie Blackman and fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood. 

Creative Connections: South of the River will also feature the Gallery’s commissioned portrait  the latest in artist Simon Terrill’s Crowd Theory series, in which images are created that explore what happens when large groups of people gather in a place of personal significance.

This display is the final part in the four year creative arts project to connect young people in different London boroughs with contemporary artists to make new artworks that explore identity and place through the lens of the Gallery’s Collection. The project has drawn  on the stories of inspirational people and traces their links with areas of East, West, North and South London.

Creative Connections: South of the River is on display in Rooms 37 and 37a, from today until the 6th September 2016. For more information on the project visit: http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/creativeconnections/home.php

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