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Brooklyn Street Art

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In The Belly Of The River Thames

Posted on May 8, 2012

Occasional BSA contributor Garry Hunter writes today about a mural in London that may appear a bit more conventional than your average Street Art piece but carries a thoroughly modern message about our devastating effect on the environment.  And electric eels!

Electric Soup in England’s Capital City
by Garry Hunter

When George Cruikshank illustrated the imagined contents of the heavily polluted River Thames in his satirical cartoon Monster Soup, he included mutant river denizens in a microscopic examination of a 19th Century London lady’s cup of tea.

New Zealand artist Bruce Mahalski has just completed a new mural on Orchard Place that references not only Cruikshank’s work, but the legacy of electromagnetic pioneer Michael Faraday, whose laboratories were located at nearby Trinity Buoy Wharf. The looping River Lea that here merges with the Thames once had a thriving fishing village, which combined with Faraday’s research, gives rise to the mural’s focus on electric animals.

Bruce Mahalski (Photo © Garry Hunter)

An Eco-activist, Mahalski incorporates an existing buddleia bush growing out of a window of the former shop that hosts his Electric Soup creation. He draws on his wide experience working with the Island Bay Marine Education Centre in Wellington, introducing more exotic submarinal characters, many of which are endangered species. He was shocked by an electric ray while working on a research boat when a metal shovel he was using to examine sealife conducted a charge right through him.

Bruce Mahalski (Photo © Garry Hunter)

Clearly visible from passenger windows of airplanes landing at City Airport, the painting is part of a series of permanent works made by visiting artists based out of Boiler House (1954) in the centre of Trinity Buoy Wharf, a haven of independent thought away from the corporate developments that now line this part of East London.

Trinity Buoy Wharf is at 64 Orchard Place, London E14 0JW with the mural on the corner of the approaching road to the gatehouse.

The artist Bruce Mahalski by Garry Hunter. (Photo © Garry Hunter)

Bruce Mahalski (Photo © Garry Hunter)

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