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Reuben Powell’s Hotel Elephant at Morley College

London SE1 website team

Hotel Elephant is the first chapter in Reuben Powell's plan to produce a permanent archive of the Elephant & Castle regeneration scheme.

Walworth Skyline
Walworth skyline © Reuben Powell

His exhibition, supported by developers Lend Lease, First Base and Oakmayne, the team responsible for the £1.5 billion regeneration, presents a range of very large-scale drawings using graphite and oil paint on paper.

"As an artist and a long term resident of Elephant & Castle I feel I am in a unique position to be able to capture this historic project," says Reuben Powell.

"I have a huge affection for this much-maligned part of London and, combined with my understanding of the area, I hope I am able to produce work that is both a great representation of the transformation and a reminder of times past for local residents."

The Elephant & Castle is one of Europe's largest regeneration schemes and a key site is the London Park Hotel which is making way for a 44-storey residential tower and a new home for Southwark Playhouse. Indeed its HOTEL lettering is adorning the front of Morley's gallery during Reuben's two-week show.

His drawings record moments often missed by a camera and also offer viewpoints not seen even by many who think that they are familiar with the Elephant. Jane Hartwell – director of The Gallery at Morley College – describes the pictures as "spectacular".

"Reuben has a unique style and his project is a good example of how art can meaningfully capture the area's changing face for future generations to enjoy," says Nigel Hugill, chairman of Lend Lease.

"We hope that the local community follow his work with as much interest as we do."

This exhibition is a must for anyone wanting to understand the extent of change at the Elephant & Castle.

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