Purley Station’s alley gets makeover from artist Benihoud

Rip it up: the mural shows women tearing apart the building to let in more colour. Pics by Tim Jobling

An unloved and sometimes dingy alley, a route used by thousands on their daily commute as they go between Purley Station and the high street, has been given a makeover, according to artist Hanna Benihoud, to “encapsulates the desire from women to reshape a city that does not serve us”.

Called Breakthrough, the mural depicts two women ripping apart a building to release colour into the alley.

Benihoud painted it following a workshop involving local residents organised by a group called the Purley Panel.

She said she had been inspired by their “hope and optimism” to change the area.

Funding for the mural was provided by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s “High Streets For All” challenge which aims to brighten up sometimes neglected corners of the capital.

Eye in the sky: Breakthrough has covered all the angles

The workshop was held in December to develop the mural’s themes and Benihoud said it had given “a clear message about empowerment, inclusivity and an imagination of what a feminist city could look and feel like”.

Portrait of the artist: Hanna Benihoud

She said: “I was inspired by the hope and optimism of women of Purley in the face of something so literally concrete as the built environment.

“There are parts of our city that perpetuate fear in women and men alike and changing them is no easy task.”

Gobo projectors have been placed on existing lampposts to animate the passage at night

Benihoud said: “Whilst we slowly reshape our environment for our modern needs, I believe artwork can transform a space temporarily whilst provoking conversation about the city.”

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2 Responses to Purley Station’s alley gets makeover from artist Benihoud

  1. Christopher M Brown says:

    I just love it. Fabulous expressionof what’s going on around us and what we feel.
    I just hope the vandals leave it alone.

  2. Lewis White says:

    Great initiative, and positive impact for hopefully many years.

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