Exhibition at the Undercurrents Gallery now open

Thanks to everyone who came to our launch event at The Bird’s Nest on Friday 4 October. We are now open and on display in the Undercurrents Gallery, Deptford, until 30 October, so do pop by (there are also some events planned at the gallery as part of the exhibition).

Here are some photos from the installation:

Maritime Urban Legends: Residency at the Undercurrents Gallery, Deptford

Don’t miss our residency at the Undercurrents Gallery, Deptford from next Friday, 4 October 2013!

We’ll be collaborating with the Minesweeper Collective (who hosted our launch event on the 14th) to offer a programme of events around the theme of maritime urban legends.
Lots still to come, but the following have all been confirmed:

Friday 4 October

Exhibition opens.

Launch event hosted by the Minesweeper Collective, featuring live music and poetry.

Wednesday 16 October

Open mic session, including Luciana Francis, Oswaldo Santos, and Jan Lee

Wednesday 23 October

Open mic session including Andrew Souter and Tony Winn

Sunday 27 October

Mer-zine and craft fair in the Undercurrents Gallery – line up TBC (email poemsunderwater @t gmail.com if you’re interested in selling your own work)

Wednesday 30 October

Open mic session including Charlotte Higgins

Thursday 31 October

Last night of the exhibition! Live sea shanties from 7pm till 1am.

Each event will also include an opportunity to buy our anthology ‘Lines Underwater’.

If you’ve got your own mermaid stories to tell or mermaid-themed music to play, we’ve got slots available throughout the month – get in touch to tell us your idea.

To stay up to date, you can also join the event on Facebook.

Launch event next week…

We’ve had lots of exciting deliveries this week, and many things to do as we prepare for our special launch event on Saturday (including some sheet painting, so we now have a flag).

We’re fully booked for Saturday, but if you’re missing out, don’t worry – you can come and see us for the whole month of October at the Undercurrents Gallery, Deptford. Here, we’ll be exhibiting selected works from the anthology and running a number of projects and events.


Residency at The Undercurrents Gallery, Deptford

We’re delighted to announce that we’ll be exhibited selected artworks from the project at Deptford’s Undercurrents Gallery from Friday 4 October 2013 until the end of the month.

As part of this project, we’ll also be holding a few open mic nights and some other mermaid-themed events, so stay tuned for more information coming soon…


Visit to Deptford Creek

Deptford began from the Ravensbourne river – a ‘ford’ crossing the water – but its geographical importance at the eastern end of the Thames’ entry into London soon made it a key shipping and trading area. It was a jump-off point for Elizabethan exploration (Sir Francis Drake was knighted on board The Golden Hinde in Deptford Creek) and, of course, drinking – fire-and-brimstone Kit Marlowe met his notoriously embarrassing demise in the environs, apparently stabbed in the eye after a tavern brawl.

As the site of the East India Company’s yard for a time during the seventeenth century, Deptford was also a key point in the business of empire. It was one of the three key stop-offs on slave-merchant John Hawkins’ ground-breaking ‘triangular trade’ model, through which he made a profit at every port. And Royal Navy sailors in the 1860s claimed that Deptford Dockyard was playing host to another grisly flesh-trade – when young Fanny Adams was murdered in Alton, Hampshire, her eyes were removed and thrown into a nearby river. These, and other parts of her, were said to have drifted (impossibly) down to Deptford, where sailors claimed to have found buttons in their tins of chopped meat – suspiciously, the Royal Navy had just retired the salt beef rations and replaced it with an inferior alternative (quickly dubbed, mnemonically, ‘sweet Fanny Adams’). 

Deptford Creek, where Drake’s famous ship was moored until it disintegrated, is the tidal branch of the Ravensbourne, hemmed in by sheer wall on all sides. Freshwater, it is an early point of change for water that eastwards, until London, is salty. Today, the nearby Discovery Centre is full of finds from the waters and evidence of modern commercial life (credit cards, golf balls, old mobile phones) and antiquated, unwanted technology – VHS tapes, compilation CDs, primitive laptops. As an urban waterway, the Creek is indeed full of shopping trolleys, old mattresses and other ephemera of city life. But it seems creek-life thrives on such cliches – an attempt to clean it up in the early 2000s resulted in wildlife numbers dropping by nearly a half – as a tidal stretch, the Creek attracts small animals and invertebrates that spend their first year alive incubating quietly here, away from the dangers of larger animals. One reason is the cage-like structure of a trolley, which becomes a haven for animals seeking a hiding place who would otherwise have nothing but wall. 

Foreign species, too, abound here, having stowed away in boats from all over the world. Mitten Crabs from the Yangtze populate the Creek in (possibly problematic) abundance, though their most obvious traces are the empty shells they’ve climbed out of. As they grow bigger, they unzip and migrate, leaving what look like crab carcasses strewn along the river bed.

The Creekside Discovery Centre run monthly low-tide walks through the Creek – well worth a visit.