For a little under a decade, as a Londoner, with her playground on my doorstep, I’ve been spotting the spread of Camille Walala’s murals; the multicolored massive menace to the tones of the tough city greys, these eye popping areas that irate the irksomely bland. Whilst her style has remained persistent, the complexity and quality of clean line work has reached a consistent crispness that hits that aesthetic spot of perfection each time now.
With influences including the Memphis Movement, the Ndebele tribe and Victor Vasarely, Camille Walala clearly has a reputation for playful, graphic patterns, and its with this signature Tribal POP style invoke an energy and vision of vitality that makes for social spaces you can only be happy in. Areas across the world have been transformed by this penchant for positivity, optimistic typography and bold use of pattern and colour.
This new installation at the Now Gallery pushes boundaries as the use of mirror reflection is an electrifying effect that takes her work to a whole new level. It reminded me of the Razzle Dazzle camoflauge, used extensively in World War I, that consisted of complex patterns of geometric shapes in contrasting colours, interrupting and intersecting each other. Unlike other forms of camouflage, the intention of dazzle is not to conceal but to make it difficult to estimate a target’s range, speed, and heading. This is just what the space did, with clever line work, my mind was tricked several times which I was most impressed with.
In hindsight I shouldn’t have dressed the girls the same as adorable soon became affably arduous as I chased reflections in scenes straight out of The Labyrinth, where Bowie’s character Jareth taunts Sarah as she tries to get to her brother Toby in that elaborate stairwell set inspired by the art of Dutch artist and illustrator M.C. Escher.
As far as exhibitions with kids go, this was great. Its a truly awesome space and a daytime visit will make that apparent as you see all the little visitors going gaga as they meander the multifaceted shapes; it must be a mystifying megalopolis to them. It is, however primarily an art show, not a soft play area for crazed cartoonish acrobatics. One unintentional consequence of this dizzying space to note is that I saw a toddler face plant straight into a reflection of herself at a shocking rate of hertz and had the glee cruelly knocked out of her by herself. So as with any activity keep your kids close and keep an eye if them.
Walala X Play is free to the public which is a bonus and is on until 24 September 2017 at Now Gallery. This gallery is perfectly Positioned right next to the North Greenwich underground. North Greenwich is on the Jubilee Line which has step free access to platforms throughout, so buggies, babies, kids and you will be super safe in and out. I’ll be keeping an eye on events here because of that and look forward to sharing more shows here that I think are worth a visit.