Following extensive flooding in a key retail area of Herne Hill in South London in 2013, footfall to the area had declined leading to a challenging trading environment for local retailers. In 2017, CAS Consultancy were appointed to help commission a landmark artwork with the aim of creating an exciting focal point for the high street. We worked with Southwark Council, the Herne Hill Forum, flood affected traders and business owners to define the artist brief and shortlist artists who would undertake a meaningful rethinking of place and local identity through the creative lens of contemporary art.
In August 2017 artist Caroline McCarthy was commissioned to develop an artwork to encourage footfall back to the area. The resulting project, Flying Boots & Eyes on Fire, is inspired by the local community, with stories, anecdotes and historical facts gathered by McCarthy over a period of extensive research and engagement translated into drawings and then rendered in stainless steel. Attached to the facades of buildings around Half Moon Lane, the drawings have been cut from a single sheet of steel which is displayed in the booking hall of Herne Hill station. Maps to the trail are distributed throughout local shops.
The artworks, installed in November 2018, speak of a history of the area which existed quietly under the radar until this point. Whether saving a pub or saving a squirrel, resurrecting a cinema or planting trees, individual stories of community action are celebrated through the trail. There will be a launch event for Flying Boots & Eyes on Fire at The Half Moon pub on 11 February 2019.
Read more about Caroline’s project here