Kamala Katbamna / PARK BENCH /

23 May 2011, 2.30 - 6 PM

The Artist launches Park Bench at the Studio


Kamala will cycle her ‘park bench’ to the Shopping Centre to celebrate the beginning of its tour through the Elephant. Shoppers, traders and passersby are invited to join her on the bench for a conversation about their emotional and psychological maps of the Elephant, and to create a set of postcard views from the bench.

Park Bench will investigate the connections between people, and between people and places, in an area undergoing rapid regeneration. Using a mobile ‘park bench’ as a space for conversation, artist Kamala Katbamna will explore how our experience of ‘place’ impacts on our collective and individual imaginings of the city.
Kamala is fascinated by the connotations and potential of park benches as objects that engender both reflection on the landscape, and conversation with others. She will apply these qualities to the rapidly shifting environment of the Elephant and Castle as it engages with extensive regeneration. The bench will tour its neighbourhoods, investigating local character and creating connections across the area as a whole.
The mobile bench will temporarily occupy a range of sites within the public realm. It will be open to both passersby and invited individuals from across the spectrum of life in the Elephant, capitalising on the area’s richly diverse population.
Participants in the project will be invited to pause, sit, and share a conversation with Kamala about the emotional and physical landscape around them. Together they will explore each person’s personal maps and landmarks; sense of belonging to the place - and to each other; and hopes for the future.
Following their conversation, Kamala will work with each participant to photograph a view from the bench and suggest a few words on its significance. She will then convert these into a set of ‘postcards’ to offer as gifts to participants at the next location – thus sparking an exchange of stories, ideas and experiences.


Park Bench will collaborate with Studio at the Elephant on a final exhibition of the work and bench at the close of the project. A record of all the work will be donated to Southwark’s Local History Library and the Regeneration Team at Southwark Council.  
Kamala Katbamna is an artist, film-maker, and musician. A desire to unlock people's stories underscores her work. Alongside her own practice as an artist, Kamala works with community groups to create exciting, collaborative art. Kamala has ten years experience in the television industry creating films for the BBC, Channel 4, Discovery and Sky.