House Art: Miranda Forrester’s botanical ceiling at Little House Balham
Made of 32 hand-painted panels, the new mural by the south London artist is Soho House’s biggest art commission to date
Thursday 25 August 2022 By Anastasiia Fedorova
Soho House’s global art collection is one of the biggest privately owned assemblages in the world. The House Art series invites you to take a peek inside them, offering a closer look at individual works and collections, and revealing why they’re such an integral part of Soho House. Up next, Miranda Forrester’s ceiling painting at London’s Little House Balham.
South London artist Miranda Forrester is redefining the place of Black women in painting – both historically and in the present day. Her work explores kinship, intimacy and the diversity of bodies though the queer Black female gaze, creating pieces that are full of empathy and power. She does so by working with figurative painting on top of multiple layers of soft PVC – but for her commission at Little House Balham, Forrester tapped into a different side of her practice. This time, her ceiling mural is made up of 32 hand-painted panels with silhouettes of plants and fragments of the body weaved in.
This isn’t Forrester first work for Soho House – she previously collaborated with us on a piece at 180 House titled ‘naked truths (Sara)’, which incorporated a mural. She also created a textile design for Brighton Beach House. However, the commission for Little House Balham is extra special, as the outpost is very close to the area she grew up in.
‘The idea of the piece was to make a large-scale work made up of individual pieces that correspond with one another and the surroundings. Each piece flows on to another, featuring predominantly botanical references and some figurative elements,’ Forrester explains. ‘I wanted to draw on themes I explore in my practice such as the relationship between nature and the body, and the significance of indoor houseplants and domestic life in queer relationships. I also wanted the piece to reflect south London in the sense of being a piece that is vibrant and busy, but with small moments of rest and peace.
‘Working on something that will be viewed from underneath was a new challenge and something I’ve never done before. It allowed me to make a composition that was one of the largest I have ever worked on. It gave me the space to truly focus on the individual plant drawings, and to abstract them further.’
Explore Little House Balham here.