Review: A Tropical School In Clapham?

Sol Calero: La Escuela Del Sur, Studio Voltaire ★★★★☆

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 36 months ago
Review: A Tropical School In Clapham? Sol Calero: La Escuela Del Sur, Studio Voltaire 4
Our classrooms were never this colourful. Photo Tabish Khan

We'd venture there are scores of Clapham dwellers who don't know there's a gallery just off Clapham High Street. Upon entering Studio Voltaire there's an even bigger shock; here is a South American schoolroom, complete with tropical plants and a dazzling colour scheme.  

The gallery space has been transformed with impressive attention to detail by Sol Calero; great lengths have gone to fill the room with vivacity — from the brightly coloured panels on the roof, to a gas pipe, painted a sunny yellow.

Calero has based the installation on a Caribbean island community that's inside a Venezuelan national park. Its location means that the community has been subject to European colonialism, which has mixed with South American and Afro-Caribbean styles; a hybrid reflected in the classroom created here.

As part of the exhibition the artist has invited local schools to create paintings inspired by the space, and these can be found on the desks and easels in this space — it's a nice touch, and some of these are very impressive in their own right.

Here is a fun, visually-striking installation that explores how Latin American and European cultures and architecture have borrowed off each other as they have evolved.

Sol Calero: La Escuela Del Sur is on at Studio Voltaire, 1a Nelson's Row, SW4 7JR until 6 December. Entrance is free and the gallery is open Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-6pm.

A view from inside the classroom looking out. Photo Tabish Khan
A view from up the stairs across the entire installation. Photo Tabish Khan
Upstairs is a collection of gym balls. Photo Tabish Khan
The work of local children is on display. Photo Tabish Khan
Some of the children's work is still visible on the desks. Photo Tabish Khan
Vegetation adds to the tropical feel. Photo Tabish Khan

Last Updated 03 November 2015