A 24-metre long hand-painted artwork that celebrates the words of Thamesmead residents

Over the last year, artist Bob and Roberta Smith interviewed people who live in Thamesmead. He talked to 21 local residents, from some of its very first occupants to young people growing up during the Covid-19 pandemic. Bob then turned his conversation into painted placards that are exhibited here alongside selected personal items.

‘Codex’, from the exhibition title, is an ancient term for a manuscript or book. Here, the artist presents a modern-day codex. The work documents the histories and identities of Thamesmead and its communities. You can read the tales and experiences of shop keepers, musicians, religious leaders, healthcare professionals, local entrepreneurs, students and artists. These show how the area has transformed over the decades and reveal the stories behind a community: fascinating pasts, surprising presents and hopeful futures. Alongside this record of people’s thoughts and experiences, Bob places vivid and futuristic landscape scenes, much like illustrated pages of a codex.


ENGAGEMENT WORKSHOPS

Alongside Thamesmead Codex, a series of free workshops and events have been designed to inspire and help us reconnect with the natural environment and each other. All workshops are led by professional artists and experts in their fields. Spaces have been limited for Covid safety. Please ensure you book your place here.

Location
Next to Wilko
Cannons Retail Park
6 Twin Tumps Way
Thamesmead Town Centre
SE28 8RD


ART

Placards of Positivity
Saturday 17 July 1-3pm & 4-6pm. Age: 12+
Design your own uplifting slogans inspired by Bobs brightly coloured lettering style, humorous musing on art, politics, popular culture and life in general. In a world where life is challenging, spread some positive vibes and feel good.

A drawing a day
Saturday 24 July 2-5pm. Age: 15+
Designed with Bob’s belief in the benefits of drawing every day. Whether you are a total novice or more experienced artist, the session delivers guided drawing tips and techniques with the focus on self-expression and the enjoyment of process. Engage in sensory exploration and curiosity through creative engagement in drawing and mark making. Learn to draw in nature and experience the excitement of drawing within the natural elements.


NATURE & ECOLOGY

Birdsong Melody Walk with JD Swann
Saturday 31 July 3-5pm. Age: 8+ (under 14s must be accompanied by an adult)
The sounds of birds, especially songbirds, have shown to improve mood and mental alertness. This Birdsong Melody walk with ornithological investigator J D Swann will encourage us to listen to nature, whilst also providing information on why birds sing and what their song calls mean; whether they are warnings of imminent danger, holding down a territory or attracting a mate. Come and learn more about the feathered inhabitants of Thamesmead. Listen...can you guess that bird?


Walk with the Artist
Saturday 7 August 3-5pm. Age: 16+/adults able to walk distance with uneven ground
With emphasis on its soothing capacity, nature is one of the most accessible and most researched mediums of healing. Independently shown to decrease anxiety; it can help to restore emotional balance and improve wellbeing. Enjoy this Walk with the Artist, learn about Bob and Roberta Smith’s art and relationship to Thamesmead and nature, ask questions, breathe fresh air and get creatively motivated.

Immersive sound workshop
Saturday 21 August. 1-3pm & 4-6pm. Age: 16+
Sound is one of the most important markers in nature. Tailor made for adults who are feeling anxious and stressed, this workshop is designed help us to reconnect with the natural environment. Away from electrical devices and constant distractions, it grounds us, promotes wellbeing, and encourages active listening and emotional responsiveness.


WELLBEING & COMMUNITY

T-shirts of Positivity
Saturday 28 August. 1-3pm & 4-6pm. Age: 8-12 (must be accompanied by an adult)
Positivity is cool, support Bob’s campaign by creating your own T-shirts of Positivity, be your own happiness activist and share the joy of words by designing and wearing your inspiring and wonderful creation.


Grand Finale
Saturday 4 September. 7-10pm. Age: All ages (under 16s must be accompanied by an adult).
Come and join us for the grand finale of the Thamesmead Codex, with the Apathy Band playing live (the band is the brainchild of Bob and Roberta Smith). Featuring Bob and Roberta Smith, Jessica Voorsanger and invited special guests, the band has had many incarnations over the years, this version will combine experimental funk fusion sounds, spoken word and readings from Bob’s Codex painting.

Interested in attending one of these workshops? Please ensure you book your place here.