The Poor Door...exhibition space
The Poor Door exhibition space at Hackney Downs Studios

Nowhere is the current housing crisis more prevalent than in London.

There has been a 37 per cent increase in London rough sleeping during the past year according to the Department for Communities and Local Government, whilst 22,000 homes stand empty.

With the figures contradicting Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s previous pledge to end rough sleeping by 2012, housing is set to be one of the major campaigning issues for London mayoral hopefuls ahead of next year’s election in May.

This is the backdrop to The Poor Door, an exhibition running for two weeks at the A-Side B-Side gallery in Hackney Downs Studios, named after the growing trend for new developments to create separate entrances for tenants according to their wealth.

Banksy fan Tinsel Edwards found ten other artists to highlight the issue of housing using a variety of perspectives.

It is this multi-disciplinary approach that you notice on entering the exhibition space, with a large mobile installation and a laptop playing a video on opposite sides. In the far corner a well-dressed eccentric man preaches about the importance of rubble.

On the wall, an unused mansion on Billionaire’s Row is depicted by the artist KIN, looking as imposing as it does in reality.

Dead Pigeons and Chandeliers by KIN
Billionaire’s Row mansion by KIN

Other highlights include a peephole inviting visitors to view a well-constructed shopping mall panorama and, reflecting that London house prices have risen 18.4 per cent in one year, a mock-up of a Foxton’s estate agents banner, subverting their familiar branding with a pound sign.

This intimate setting, tucked away on Amhurst Terrace, showcases the passion and creativity of activist art and it was great to see such a range of ages in attendance.

Short film screenings during the exhibition run include the Focus E15 Mum’s campaign tonight (8 October) at 7.30pm and an artist and curator talk on 10 October at 3pm.

Whether you’re there to learn or be inspired, this mini-Dismaland adds an important voice to a problem that isn’t going away any time soon.

The Poor Door is at A-Side B-Side gallery, Hackney Downs Studios, Amhurst Terrace, London E8 2BT until 11 October.

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