The Brightness of JuJu
Rima Patel, Dunya Kalantery with children from Willow Bank and Harris Garrard Primary schools
Essay by Jes Fernie
Design: An Endless Supply
The year is 2090. The island of Thamesmead is separated from the outside world by a thick rolling river of mud. All the adults are gone and only the children remain. They make their own rules, learn about the world and search for the lost culture they came from. But in the searching they find something else, something strange, dark and wonderful…
The real Thamesmead does indeed sit like an island on London’s outer edge. Famous for its 70’s Brutalist concrete architecture, this real Thamesmead has been forever typecast as the quintessential Urban Jungle. Unknown and unexplored.
Yet the real Thamesmead is bounded by the river Thames, Erith marshes and ancient green woods. It’s crisscrossed by walkways in the sky, sensuous canals and underpasses to secret green spaces and wandering horses.
Both the real and imagined Thamemsead are pregnant with the possibilities that can only be found in that rare in-betweenness of spaces, where a city begins and ends. Growing up here on the edge has always been wild.
Collaging colour, poetry, found things and images, The Brightness of JuJu is a beautiful ode to childhood, place and the power of imagination. It’s a fictional story about the dreaming of a utopia.
This world has been collectively imagined and authored over many months of exploration and fun by 120 school children primary schools in Thamesmead and the artists Dunya Kalantery & Rima Patel.