Friday, 1 August 2014

Spirit of Soho, Broadwick Street W1

Spirit of Soho was created by a bunch of community activists in 1991 to try and brighten up Carnaby Street, which had sunk from its 1960s hub-of-hip status to dreary alley of tourist tat. And very successfully too.
St Anne, dedicatee of the parish church, is shown as a flame-haired, bare-shouldered beauty very different from her usual portrayal in religious art which shows the mother of Mary with her head and shoulders covered in a cowl like a nun.
St Anne spreads out her skirt to reveal a map of Soho with all the main landmarks. One either side are panels depicting, from top left to bottom right, a film animator (note the film cans making a Mickey Mouse hat); a variety show at the London Palladium; the fashion trade; Carnaby Street with a stilt walker; Soho's cosmopolitan restaurants and Ronnie Scott's, with famous jazzmen.
The crowd along the bottom is of Soho worthies - there is a list on the information plaque.
When the clock strikes the hour there is a little show, so subtle it is easy to miss.

1 comment:

The Duke of Waltham said...

It's interesting how the artists tried to tie all six panels together with the common theme of curtains (even if one is made of celluloid and another is made of food).