Sometimes the choice of materials is just as meaningful as the art itself. Artist Harriet Mena Hill has been working on an ongoing series of unorthodox paintings called The Aylesbury Fragments, rendering scenes of architecture directly onto pieces of concrete. Each of these remnants is salvaged material from the Aylesbury Estate, a large housing complex in South East London, which is being demolished as part of a regeneration program.
Hill finds a way to record snippets of the dismantled buildings on numerous shards of concrete, which range from palm-sized to nearly the length of a human torso. The inspiration for what she paints derives from the stories of residents who used to live in these torn-down apartments. “I started making work about the Aylesbury Estate in response to my experience of working with the residents on art projects back in 2018,” Hill tells My Modern Met. “The Aylesbury Fragments document what remains of the occupied parts of the estate as it undergoes regeneration.” The concrete pieces that Hill uses come from a block of flats called Chiltern which was demolished in 2020.
The Aylesbury Estate was designed by architect Hans Peter Fenton and constructed between 1963 and 1977. It consisted of 2,700 dwellings that housed about 10,000 residents at one time. During the 1980s, however, the site went through a period of disrepair, eventually prompting the beginning of a regeneration program in 2005. “I wanted to present the human and community side of the estate which has historically experienced an extremely negative portrayal in the press,” Hill explains. The works offer an opportunity to do so.
Scroll down to see more works from this series, and follow Hill on Instagram to keep up to date with her latest projects.
Artist Harriet Mena Hill paints detailed scenes on pieces of concrete.
The series, titled The Aylesbury Fragments, uses remaining concrete pieces from a demolished block of flats called Chiltern.
Hill uses these remains as canvases for her paintings.
Each of these works portrays a section of architecture from the demolished block of apartments.
Watch this video to learn more about the project:
Harriet Mena Hill: Instagram