• by Anthea Toorchen
  • Haydn Middleton, Anthea Toorchen (Illustrator)
  • Detail from one of Anthea Toorchen’s works
  • Haydn Middleton, Anthea Toorchen

Myths of the Sacred Tree


Acclaimed Brixton artist, Anthea Toorchen, died earlier this year, at the age of just 59. Co Arts Editor, , talked to Philippa Jones, one of the organisers of a memorial exhibition of Anthea’s work at Brixton East later this month.

Since this is my principal place of work I grew to feel that here I might be allowed to influence the photograph without betraying the general hands-off policy that governs 20 Sites as a whole. Thus, after 1976, the figures have been 'plants' and their passing an enactment. The first figure appears by accident in 1973 itself. Charles Kent the basement tenant is seen attending to his van. The theme is taken up in 1976 when Margaret, one half of Arbor Films, is the protagonist. It was in this year that the Arbor/Arts Council Film was made and although it does not finally feature 20 Sites there was to have been a whole section on the project and extensive footage still exists. It is only however in 1980 that I have systematically asked people to pass by for the necessary four or five times (which demonstrates how gradually the fixed elements of the project have evolved and may still evolve). In 1980 Anthea Toorchen is featured who had just come to work with me on the Dante book. In 1981 Pella Erskine-Tulloch. In 1982 Andy Gizauskas. In 1983 Leo guests as they say on American chat shows.


Haydn Middleton and Anthea Toorchen

The Anthea Toorchen Memorial Exhibition opens at 6pm on Monday 22 June at Brixton East and runs for two days. The exhibition is free to attend and everyone is welcome.