David Aylward – Interventions in Deptford

David Aylward is a musician and artist whose art takes the form of installations which intervene with the street. His work uses street art painted onto the floor as well as music to get his points across.

Fig. 1 © Deptford is Forever and Sue Lawes - 'img_1842' (2018)
Fig. 1 © Deptford is Forever and Sue Lawes – ‘img_1842’ (2018)

Specifically, Aylward has successfully campaigned for the anchor in Deptford to be reinstalled. Aylward used chalk from the nearby Thames river shore to draw the anchor and its chains onto Deptford high street (Fraser, 2018). Unlike the more permanent and potentially contentious use of spray paint used in graffiti and street art, chalk is a clever way of making an effective demonstration without being destructive. Moreover, by sourcing the chalk from the Thames where presumably the anchor was used, Aylward has referenced the heritage of the Deptford and the anchor’s history; making his demonstration even more persuasive. Aylward’s brother in an interview with Anita Strasser states getting the anchor back was important because: ‘It’s a symbol of Deptford’s maritime history, and we need to preserve that history. History is important because it gives you roots, it connects you to the past to help you understand where we are now.’ (Aylward cited in Strasser, 2018).

Fig. 2 © Deptford is Forever and Sue Lawes - 'img_1870' (2018)
Fig. 2 © Deptford is Forever and Sue Lawes – ‘img_1870’ (2018)

I feel temporary, non-destructive installations in a public space are an incisive way of interacting with people concerning issues like gentrification or the eradication of a place’s heritage. They disrupt regeneration’s glossy facade in a peaceful yet compelling manner. Not only this, they challenge the power and corporate character of today’s property-led regeneration because of their ephemeral and whimsical nature. Aylward’s interventions with place engage both local people and the council because of their public site and pertinent issues raised. These two factors increase awareness of perceived issues because the art appears in a highly visible context, while directly addressing those issues by utilising creative and appropriate content.


Fig. 1 Deptford is Forever and Lawes, S. (2018) IMG_1842. [Photograph] At: https://deptfordischanging.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/deptford-is-forever/ (Accessed 06/07/2020).

Fig. 2 Deptford is Forever and Lawes, S. (2018) IMG_1870. [Photograph] At: https://deptfordischanging.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/deptford-is-forever/ (Accessed 07/07/2020).

Strasser, A. (2018) Deptford is Forever. At: https://deptfordischanging.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/deptford-is-forever/ (Accessed 06/07/2020).

Fraser, C. (2018) ‘Iconic Deptford Anchor back in high street’ In: South London Press 06/02/2018. At: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/iconic-deptford-anchor-back-in-high-street/ (Accessed 06/07/2020).


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