LONDON, ENGLAND – A south London artist has recently sculpted 40 tons of construction sand into a “fat cat” in an impromptu protest against soaring rents.
Zara Gaze used spoons, a plastering trowel and also a spade to shape the giant feline sculpture in the shadow of a new development opposite Brockley station, south London, during the early hours of Sunday.
The large sand cat is munching on some broccoli – a pun on Brockley – and is intended as a critique of gentrification, the 38-year-old mother-of-one told the Standard.
She said she walks past the new redevelopment project on Coulgate Street each and every day and fears it is a sign that the area may soon to be too expensive for her and others like her to afford rent.
“It’s just a little comment on the redevelopment that’s going on,” she said. “It’s a fat cat eating broccoli because it’s in Brockley.
“It just seemed right, with this big tower shooting up there.”
e, who moved to the area back around 15 years ago, added: “Increasingly people are not able to afford to be in Brockley. The rent has literally doubled in the time I’ve been here.”
She said the idea came to her when she walked past the pile of unsupervised sand this past Saturday afternoon, then went out for drinks with friends before returning at about 10.30pm.
The professional sculptor, whose street art made from sand has appeared all over the capital city, then spent the next five hours shaping the intricate design.
She left it at about 3.30am. But when she returned several hours later it had been completely flattened, which Ms Gaze said enhanced her message about the danger of local redevelopment diminishing the character of the area.
“I didn’t really think too deeply about it before but with hindsight I realized the sculpture was made out of the whole point of the sculpture,” she said.
Pictures of the sculpture were posted on the public “I Love SE4” Facebook group, where residents shouted out their appreciation for the work.
Michele Henare wrote: “That’s so cool – can we keep it?”. Kate Arton added: “That is awesome.”