Meet Boudicca Collins, the artist decorating Lewisham streets

Boudicca Collins contributed to the mural outside Kath’s place. Pic: Boudicca Collins @boudiccapaloma

Lewisham fine artist, Boudicca Collins, has spent the past 10 years of her life painting professionally. Her love for art started in classes as a girl; with art, she “found peace and a sense of focus that [she] couldn’t seem to find anywhere else”.

Collins’ artwork is intertwined with inspiration from her childhood in southeast London, which is reflected in her recent mural work, unmissable by Lewisham residents, with one mural piece being displayed in Lewisham Shopping Centre as a part of the Lewisham Borough of Culture last year.

“A love of the natural world is a strong inspiration for my work along with a fascination for patterns and the relationship between the macro and microcosm. Vibrant colours and the influence of tropicalia play a key role in my paintings and reflect my dual European and Indian heritage.

“I’m inspired to champion environmental causes, working with charities to promote inclusivity and positive representation and to celebrate local heroines.”

Lewisham Shopping Centre mural of Sybil Phoenix. Pic: Boudicca Collins

Collins’ passion for large-scale painting began after seeing ‘Surprised!’ by Henri Rousseau at the National Gallery. She said that she was really moved by that particular painting.

“[T]hat experience instilled a sense of the power and impact that painting can have.

“I really enjoy working on a large scale, by taking up space the artwork can put the viewer in a position where they have to look and can get totally immersed in a painting. Saying that though, I recently spent three weeks in Jaipur studying Indian Miniature painting and love the intricacy that goes into working on a smaller scale too.”

Collins expressed that the people and places of Lewisham have often helped her in creating her artwork, as she recounted how visits to the Horniman Museum in Honor Oak had inspired her: “[It] was one of my favourite places to be. I remember being mesmerised by the beautiful gardens with little streams running through them and loved the aquariums and antique collection. 

I rediscovered the museum while studying at the Slade and the totem pole outside inspired a giant totem pole painting of animal faces about four meters high for the degree show.”

After studying at the Slade she went on to become a scenic painter for various events and productions including work for the Royal Opera House, theatre, events, film, and television.

Looking for a way to paint murals to make art more accessible and engage directly with the community, Collins found the Lewisham School of Muralism where she worked with various charities in the borough to paint murals at locations such as the Childeric road, Lewisham Wearside Refuse Centre, and Kath’s place.

Collins told Eastlondonlines: “After having Covid in the autumn of 2021, I was really fatigued and took some time off from scenic painting, it was then that I discovered the Lewisham School of Muralism, now the London School of Muralism.

“During this course, I discovered the charity shop and food bank Kath’s Place on Friendly Street and painted a mural there celebrating both historical and current heroines Kath Duncan and Barbara Raymond.”

When asked about any upcoming projects in the area, Collins said: “There are a lot of murals to inspire and uplift already in Lewisham but I am looking forward to contributing to a few more walls in the borough this year.

“Projects are still in the planning stage for this year and would like to do something on Deptford High Street and potentially do something as part of the Deptford X Fringe festival as well.”

The Deptford X Fringe festival is coming back to Lewisham from September 22 to October 1.

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