Tag Archives: Atlantic Rd

Sunday 7 August –

A festival by day and a riot by night. Brixton experienced two very different community events on Sunday and in the early hours of Monday morning. Coldharbour Lane and Atlantic Rd were lined with soundsystems from 12pm until 7pm for Brixton Splash, an annual street festival with a theme this year of ‘Community Champions’. And a good community mood prevailed, with crowds of people dancing, drinking and partying through the rain.

But at midnight, long after the Splash had ended, looting sparked by the riots in Tottenham began on Brixton Rd. McDonalds, H&M and Morleys were all attacked and their windows smashed. Footlocker was heavily looted before being set on fire. It is now a mere shell of a building. The crowd – reportedly about 300 people – then moved up the hill to Currys, stealing widescreen TVs, computers and vacuum cleaners.

Many onlookers have reported a  slow response from the police in Brixton. Emma Reynolds, interviewed by the BBC, said: “There were riot police near Brixton station, but there was no police presence in Effra Rd for at least 40 minutes.”

See here for a map of the London riots as they unfold.

Below is a selection of photos from both Brixton Splash and the riot later. Although the two aren’t connected, I felt it important not to forget the positive community atmosphere at Splash before the looting started during the night.

Brixton Splash:

(Photo: Kaye Wiggins)

(Photo: Kaye Wiggins)


(Photo: Melissa Constantinou)

(Photo: Melissa Constantinou)

And, from midnight, the rioting:

Morleys boarded up, Monday:


Ritzy ‘open as usual’:

 (Photo: Tom Leighton)

And not so usual – Kači Peringer describes her photo: “Huge stack of Metros still outside the station at 8pm shows what a ghost town Brixton was today after the riots. Normally all gone by 8am!”

(Photo: Kači Peringer)



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INTERVIEW: Malark and his street art in Brixton

We interview street artist Malark, whose paintings have been appearing on the shop shutters of Brixton this month

How long have you been doing street art for and what got you into it?

I’ve been painting for years both on and off the street, but it’s just really within the last couple of years I have been doing shutters. I started doing some in Newcastle then Barcelona and now these in London.

You’ve been living in Barcelona for a while – what made you want to come to Brixton and do these pieces?

I was back in the UK for a exhibition in London bridge, where I met Billy – who I paint with in Brixton – and we painted a shutter just near there. After that we wanted to get some more done, we wanted to steer clear of East London where most of the graffiti and street art seems to be, and just start somewhere fresh that didn’t really have a scene at all. I’ve always loved Brixton because it’s got such a strong culture; it’s almost like it’s a completly different place to the rest of London. I was surprised it didn’t really have a scene for street art actually.

Why do you think Brixton is a particularly good place to do something like this?

Brixton is real nice for this. Everyone is real friendly, a lot of the shutters are big and smooth and you can buy export Guinness in every off licence.

How long does each shutter take to paint?

Depending on the shutter, it takes 2-4 hours. We usually chill at the same time, have a beer and that – we try to make a day out of it.

You’ve got quite a distinctive style – can you explain what it’s all about?

The style I’m not really sure. I love the bright colours. I just try to paint how I like to see things. I imagine if i was a passer-by what would I like to look at, or what would make me smile and it sort of informs itself.

Have you got permission from the shopkeepers to paint the shutters? What has the response been like generally from shopkeepers and passers-by?

Its easier to get permission so we can take our time and not worry about any sillyness. The response from passers-by has been awesome, always positive, most of the time they cannot belive we are not being paid or anything and we try to explain we like to do it so thats why we do it. Shop keepers are getting more into it now they have seen a few about, but big thanks to the first guys that let us paint!

Is it just you or are you working together with other people?

Mainly I paint with Billy but also some other guys. It depends on who I have spoken to that week. I always love to paint with new people.



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INTERVIEW: Culture Clash and Couture: Abenaa Pokuaa

Guest blogger Maria Hannah Bass interviews Brixton fashion designer Abenaa Pokuaa about her colourful clothing collection and the twin influences of London and Ghana on her work

With sequins, mesh and PVC glimmering amongst Kente cloth and vivid batik, the clothes inside Ohema Ohene boutique are almost as colourful as the street beyond. It’s on Brixton’s Atlantic Road, alongside halal butchers, trendy bars, Indian sari shops and Caribbean market stalls blasting ska, that designer Abenaa Pokuaa has found a natural home for her African-inspired fashion.

‘I always felt Brixton was the right place for my shop ’cause it’s just a melting pot of cultures,’ Abenaa enthuses. ‘In Brixton – in fact, in most places in London – you wouldn’t know straightaway what country you were in. You can see people from Bangladesh, from Italy, from Ghana, from Mauritius… You can’t help vibe off that. It makes you more creative, it makes you want to mix things together.’

Abenaa has perfected the art of ‘mixing things together’, creating beautifully cut and trend-aware clothes in traditional African fabrics. ‘I’m trying to fly two flags,’ she says: ‘the British flag and the Ghanaian flag. I’m proud to be British but I’m also proud to be Ghanaian. I want to fuse the two together.

‘I’ve always wanted to be a designer. I wanted to produce a brand that was wearable and relevant to who I am, British Ghanaian, born and bred in South London. I like to wear things that are wearable but also slightly unique. Topshop and H&M are great for what they do but at times you want something slightly fresh, slightly different.’ Abenaa picks up a shoe that looks like a Converse plimsoll, only covered in bright African batik print with a PVC cuff. ‘See this? Worldwide, everybody wears trainers like this. I didn’t see why I couldn’t do that but using my own culture.’

So fresh out of the London College of Fashion, Abenaa set about starting her own business. The start-up was completely self-funded – along the journey from student to businesswoman she designed for high street stores and even worked in the costume department for Strictly Come Dancing. ‘That was the total opposite of what you’re taught at uni!’ she laughs. ‘Ridiculously over the top with no budget, just do what you like!’ Finally founded in 2008, Ohema Ohene is now in its third collection and Abenaa recently opened the boutique on Brixton’s Atlantic Road.

Abenaa talks me through this latest collection, bringing out cocktail dresses in bold Ghanaian prints heavy with sequins or bandage detailing. She’s constantly got her eye out for seasonal trends to keep the look fresh whilst retaining that African influence. She’ll buy pink Kente prints when fuchsia’s in fashion and she made sure the cuts in her current collection reflect the vogue for body-conscious tailoring and underwear as outerwear. In a nod to the flurry of animal print that prowled this season’s catwalks, there’s even a mesh panelled dress covered in ‘Africanised’ leopard spots.

Men’s polo shirts and hoodies have the subtlest of Kente print trims and Abenaa promises a similar approach with her upcoming collection of soft tailoring. ‘The menswear is smart London streetwear. Think Tinie Tempah – he’s Nigerian but he’s also British and his look is just very London. That’s the kind of look that my menswear is trying to portray. It could be worn by anyone – black, Asian, Caucasian, whatever.’ You’ve probably already seen Ohema Ohene designs popping up in music videos but Abenaa has her eye on some more stars who could do with a little Afro-British fusion. ‘I’d like to dress somebody daring like Kanye or crazy like Andre 300. Men like Mike Skinner, Pharrel Williams… Someone like Jay Z might be a bit too hip hop for me! Colin Farrell or Dermot O’Leary would look good in the new menswear collection.’ Like her dresses, the future is bright for Abenaa and Ohema Ohene. With international fashion shows coming up in the new year and two other designers moving into the fabulous Brixton boutique, Ohema Ohene is putting Brixton at the heart of London’s multicultural fashion scene. Britain, Ghana, but most of all London is Abenaa’s biggest influence. ‘I love London. I miss it wherever I go. It’s so diverse – film, food, fashion – we’re just surrounded by so much choice and so much culture. And anything goes – I love the freedom of London, that feeling that you can do anything, wear anything.’

Maria Hannah Bass blogs at www.mhdbass.wordpress.com


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Holland and Barrett

Another shop has popped up on the Brixton high street – and it’s not a pop up. It’s a Holland & Barrett. But don’t forget about Brixton Wholefoods on Atlantic Rd.


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Sunday trading at Brixton Market

Photos from last weekend’s first Sunday trading at Brixton Market:

The Electric Avenue/Atlantic Rd shops all opened up. Cheap veg on a Sunday – hooray!

The new Federation Coffee – now serving food as well as coffee – making good trade

But many shops remained closed:

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