The Treatment Rooms
The ‘Treatment Rooms’ is a privately owned house in west London currently having its exterior walls transformed by a collective of artists.
The aim is to cover the entire outside walls of the three-storey house in mosaic art, which is planned as a self-contained conceptual piece. The artists have just completed work on the front wall, from east to west, in and around the porch, effectively completing half of the planned three tiers.
The subject matter of the different sections draws on a huge range of cultural references and associations, and is evolving as the work progresses.
One of the main motivating forces for doing this work is the desire to produce Public Art that is uncensored and unusual. The artists want to include powerful political references, to put their work in a social context, to make it an expression of the reality of life today. Also they want to include historical references to the art and culture of the past, both to show the immense variety of different visual traditions, and to highlight the differences, and the correspondences, with our present situation.
Nothing used in the design is a direct copy of earlier styles; rather the mosaicists have used different styles as an inspiration. Many people have collaborated on the ideas and the working out of the finished designs. Recycled and donated tiles are used. There are some found objects and other materials too.
The mosaics are very incongruous both in relation to their setting in Chiswick, and to the architecture of the house itself. The section around the front door, with its alchemical symbols of the four elements in Latin, its all-seeing one-eyed Mickey Mouse, its Tree of Life symbol, its Mayan Gods supporting the porch and ornate Indian decoration, transform the entrance - and just who is that peeking out from under the door?
The walls around the windows to the left of the porch are decorated with Eastern-inspired frames and are inlaid with ceramic discs associated with symbols used in alchemy and Pagan ritual. Running the length and height is what can best be described as a Surrealist tableau, featuring fly agarics, flying eyeballs, a mischievous marriage of Mandrakes and a querulous caterpillar who bids the viewer answer his simple question.
To the right of the porch is a Tiki-inspired island landscape that’s either paradise or hell, depending how you look at it (palm trees, a giant orange totem pole, battleships, a pair of lovers and some UFOs). Above this scene explodes an illuminated eye. It was nice of English Heritage to award us a blue plaque for our efforts, wasn’t it?
As well as being a work of visual beauty, the house will be a vision of world cultures, allowing interpretations and possibilities for appreciation on many different levels, with a wealth of references and points of interest.
The Treatment Rooms house is a political statement in itself, and a reaction against the commodification of Art that is so prevalent today.
40ft Mosaic mural dedicated to incarcerated Black Panthers unveiled at
The Treatment Rooms
A spectacular new mosaic mural has been unveiled on the outside wall of the Treatment Rooms in the west London suburb of Chiswick to raise awareness of African-American men confined in the notorious Angola prison, Louisiana.
The artwork, which took four months to create with help from a dedicated group of activist artists, decorates The Treatment Rooms, home of street artist Carrie Richards, aka The Baroness, and her partner Mr. Spunky. The mosaic is inlaid with 3D ceramic pieces and tiles that The Baroness has printed on herself. Having studied ceramics for the past 6 years, she is now about to transfer any image onto tile to add incredible detail and complexity to her work.
The mosaic depicts the so-called Angola 3 – Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox and Robert King – men wrongfully convicted of murder at Angola prison in the 1970s and who subsequently spent decades in solitary confinement. Though Woodfox’s conviction has been overturned, and Wallace’s recommended for such, both men remain behind bars.
The extensive work is also dedicated to Kenny ‘Zulu’ Whitmore, who has similarly spent 33 years in solitary confinement at Angola, where the majority of inmates are black and will die inside its walls.
The Baroness is personal friends with all of these political prisoners and has recently become spokesperson for the London Chapter to support the Angola 3. This mural follows on from the Luis Ramirez Wall – which was a mosaic mural in memory of her first prisoner penpal Luis who was executed by the State of Texas. She continues make mosaics infused with social and political commentary, and she’s The Treatment Rooms as the UK’s only ceramic adorned house of resistance.
The only freed member of the Angola 3, Robert King –who spent 29 years in solitary confinement and was released in 2001 after his murder conviction was overturned – attended the unveiling on June 21. One of the purposes of his stay in London was to launch the Free Zulu campaign. He spoke to a crowd of 150 artists and activists from the UK, Europe and North America who have rallied around the causes of the Angola 3 and Zulu.
Robert King spoke to Zulu after the unveiling and Zulu said he now had hope in his heart. He has since seen pictures of the unveiling and is overjoyed by the support reaching him from the UK.
The Treatment Rooms
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