This post was first published by The Croydon Citizen on 15/12/2017.
Event review: X-mas In The Cronx exhibition at RISEgallery
‘Already fed up with seeing endless displays of Christmas cards and decorations in every shop you enter?’ reads RISEgallery’s website. If so, it promised, this is the exhibition for you, offering the chance for visitors to ‘revel in their own self needs’ and ‘fill the space in your chaotic life’. ‘No-one’, it promised, ‘could deserve it more’.
The show even invites us to ‘come sneer at how the corporate world of advertising sucks us all in for nothing more than profiteering or share awful stories of disastrous past Christmases!’.
My fellow student, photographer Conor O’Hagan, and I were interested in the idea of an alternative Christmas show that celebrated the culture of Croydon. So we went along to find out more, and to view the works of Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Banksy, David Stein and ART + BELIEVE (the exciting partnership behind some of the town centre’s recent artistic transformation pieces) – to name but a few.
The opening night had a busy feel to it – really friendly and welcoming. It also had a great street vibe, with the bar outside in St George’s Walk. Seasonal drinks from Street Cocktails added a festive touch. But the best thing about the evening was the chance to escape the pressure to socialise and shop, take a break, and take in some art.
With approval given for the new Westfield shopping centre, we are told that Croydon town centre is set to become a retail mecca. An evening like this one underlines that it’s already so much more than that.
When you’re doing your Christmas shopping this year, why not take a break in St George’s Walk and spend an hour or so having a different kind of Christmas in the Cronx?
X-mas In The Cronx is on at the RISEgallery until Saturday 23rd December. It’s free and open from Tuesdays to Fridays, 10am-6pm, and on Saturdays from 10am to 4pm.