On the 14th June 2017 a fire was reported at the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of public housing flats in North Kensington, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, West London, England leading to 40 fire engines and more than 200 firefighters tackling the blaze. It took until the following day to get it under control, with the fire affecting most floors of the building and destroying 151 homes, both in the tower and surrounding areas. It caused at least 80 deaths and over 70 injuries. A definitive death toll is not expected until at least 2018.
The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn has said that the deadly Grenfell fire sent “a terrible message” to the world about the UK’s levels of social inequality and would prove to be “a turning point in the national consciousness”
At a supporters’ rally, Mr Corbyn said people had “lost faith and trust” in what he called the “deeply-divided” Tories’ ability to deliver social justice.
The blaze had been “a towering inferno of people, many of whom were living in poverty, in the richest borough in the United Kingdom”.
As can be heard in the short interview below (in English) with the artist Chris Bell,the events of 14th June 2017 and which The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn reckons was a turning point in the national consciousness was also a turning point for Chris Bell’s artistic production as this exhibition now testifies.
He had been making a series of large works on paper with acrylic paint and charcoal drawings for a number of years pulling images from his memory but without a real strong fixed direction for the work.
The events of destruction of the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of public housing flats as the cladding outside of the building caught fire and the subsequent inquiry now taking place in which it would seem that less expensive not fireproof cladding was added to building to save money has so moved and entered the man that he felt he had to make a statement.
That statement is now inside the Galleria Comunale in Barga Vecchia as an installation and is an emotional journey for the observer and one which will probably take some time to properly assimilate.