Surrey Quays Shopping Centre: Boxed In Art Project

A Southwark artist is inviting members of the public to help him recreate a living room – made out of cardboard. The project, called ‘Boxed In’, is the second lockdown-themed exhibition he has run in the Art of Isolation pop-up gallery in South East London.

Artist Rod Kitson is working in the Surrey Quays shopping centre for the next two weeks (Sep 1-Sep 15), using waste material produced by the surrounding shops to make tables, chairs, cabinets and even a grandfather clock.

He is running the space like a workshop, with visitors able to bring designs of their own to build, be guided in how to make things or simply have a look at what others have created. They can also paint the items or design wallpaper to hang on the walls.

Boxed In, the concept!

Rod said: “Don’t worry if you have no experience, it’s all just about the fun of making something. I have made quite a few things now, and none of them are perfect, and that’s how I like them!

You can make whatever you like, from a simple table, to smaller ornaments, mugs, chairs or even toys. Today someone made a teddy bear out of layers of cardboard, and we’re planning to make a dinosaur skeleton. Maybe life size would be pushing it, but it’s good to have a challenge!

People can take part as much or as little as they want. I want the space to be really welcoming, so please do pop in and say hello.” 

Rod got the idea for the interactive exhibition from the isolation of being in lockdown.

We have all been cooped up in our own rooms so long, with all this creative energy with nowhere to go,” he said. “And I was also thinking about the amount of deliveries we had to our homes in cardboard boxes from Amazon and the like. So why not use those surplus materials and energy to create something that relates to our experiences during this strange time.

“I thought this would be a great way to reflect on the amount of time we have had to spend in our homes during the lockdown. If we can reduce waste while we’re at it, and reuse materials that would have been thrown away, then that’s a bonus.

“I love to make use of things that would be chucked away, especially if I can use them artistically. It’s good to think about materials and resources in a different way. And with all the shops in the shopping centre, there is no shortage of cardboard to be had!”

Everyone is welcome

All tools and material are provided. It is open to all ages, under 16s must be accompanied and supervised by an adult, and face coverings must be worn at all times with social distancing measures observed. It is free to take part.

Boxed In is the latest community art project by Rod, who earlier this summer curated the Art of Isolation exhibition of 230 works of art by 140 artists – all made during lockdown.

  • Boxed In runs from Tues September 1 to Tuesday September 15, 11am-5pm (12-5pm Thursdays, 11-3pm Friday Sep 4)
  • At: The Art of Isolation, Unit 38, Upper Floor, Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, Redriff Road, London, SE16 7LL
  • For more information visit: Rod Kitson Art

Surrey Quays Shopping Centre is home to over 40 shops and loads of places to stop to eat and drink, such as Pizza 1889, Sushi Momoda and Mange Tout. Shops include New Look, River Island, Dorothy Perkins, Clarks, Burton, Next and lots more.

Meanwhile, next door at Surrey Quays Leisure Park visitors can enjoy the Odeon cinema and Hollywood Bowl, plus restaurants including Pizza Hut and Frankie & Benny’s.

With 1,300 parking spaces, free for up to four hours (no return within two hours), a visit to Surrey Quays in Rotherhithe couldn’t be easier. The Shopping Centre also offers an accessibility service with wheelchairs available free of charge from the management office.

Surrey Quays is open from 9.30am – 7.00pm on Monday to Friday, from 9.00am – 7.00pm on Saturday and 11.00am – 5.00pm on Sunday. Store opening times may vary. Food, cinema and leisure will be open later – please check retailer websites for further details.

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