Breathe:2022 by Dryden Goodwin


18th May – December 2022

On multiple sites across Lewisham and the UK

“Art is a way of making the invisible visible, that’s why I’m part of this project. It’s about awareness, about getting everybody on board. Politicians say people aren’t ready, but they are ready. We can’t go back, there’s no turning back now – it’s a red alert, it’s a public health crisis”

Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, Founder of the Ella Roberta Family Foundation and Breathe:2022 Participant

Breathe:2022 – Air Pollution and Activism

Working with Invisible Dust and an Imperial College air pollution scientist artist Dryden Goodwin has reimagined and extended his seminal 2012 Breathe artwork a decade on as an ambitious, multi-site flagship commission for Lewisham, London Borough of Culture.

Breathe:2022 by Dryden Goodwin is a multifaceted artwork combining over 1,300 new drawings appearing as large-scale still and moving images on sites close to the heavily polluted South Circular Road from 18th May – December 2022. Relating to the tragic death of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah and the growing battle for climate justice, it works with the most impacted communities to connect this global health emergency to the daily lives of local Lewisham residents and activists.

Six individuals from across the borough bear witness to the impacts of air pollution – and the power of activism – through their bodies and their breath. Participants including representatives from Choked Up, Mums for Lungs, Climate Action Lewisham and the Ella Roberta Family Foundation, have sat for Goodwin to be drawn and recorded as they ‘fight for breath’.

Alongside ‘We Breathe, Together‘ – a day of community air action and exploration at the Horniman which took place on the 17th September 2022 – and the ambitious Drawing Breath schools programme running across the Autumn, Breathe:2022 will culminate as large-scale public projection on the Old Town Hall in Catford animating over 1,300 new drawings from the 30th November to 14th December 2022.

Read about the Finale event – Two week-public projection commencing on 30th Nov here

Download Press Release

“For people of colour in particular we are forced to choose between our communities and culture, and our health – this isn’t a choice that anyone should have to make”

Anjali Raman-Middleton, Co Founder of Choked up and Breathe:2022 participant

Breathe:2022– On sites close to the South Circular Road

Drawings from Breathe:2022 appeared as large-scale zoetropic sequences of posters on a range of railway bridges and buildings, and as still and moving images on over 250 JCDecaux digital screens as part of their newly launched Community Channel initiative.

Appearing as a staged visual takeover of the borough over six months, starting in the choked underpasses of busy bridges, through to roadside hoardings and buildings, and finally projected up high – Breathe:2022 asks us to both stay with the claustrophobia of ‘fighting for breath’ but begin to look upwards and outwards, towards the possibilities of community action and a clean air future for all. 

Breathe:2022 on the Euston Road for the Bloomsbury Festival

In October 2022 Breathe:2022 toured into central London as part of this year’s Bloomsbury Festival – Large scale zoetropic sequences of figures were ‘fighting for breath’ on the railings of St Pancras Church alongside Euston Road, one of the most polluted roads in Europe.

Breathe:2022 on 250+ JCDecaux screens across London and the UK

Breathe:2022 artwork has been featured on over 250+ digital screens as part of the JCD Community Channel initiative – where it has been seen by over 13 million people to date.

Breathe:2022 – The science of air pollution impacts

Breathe:2022 is informed and supported by the project’s lead scientific consultant, Dr Ian Mudway of the MRC Centre for Environment and Health, Imperial College London, who brings over 25 years of world-leading research in environmental toxicology. Currently, Dr Mudway’s work is focused on understanding early life impacts of pollutants on the development of the lung and cognitive function in children living within urban populations.

Breathe:2022 at the Wellcome Collection

Breathe:2022 featured at the Wellcome Collection, who hosted original drawings, and a sound piece created from the participants’ words as part of the acclaimed ‘In the Air’ exhibition, open to the public until October 2022.

Meet the Breathe:2022 Participants

Breathe:2022 – Ten Years of air pollution, and unequal progress

Read our latest blog post looking at how ten years have changed the landscape around air pollution understanding – and how far we still have to go.

Breathe:2022 – Get informed, get involved

First step to taking action is getting informed – see our recent blog on health impacts and the current landscape of political action. Then connect to local groups campaigning in your area – and groups such Choked Up, Mums for Lungs, Climate Action Lewisham and the Ella Roberta Family Foundation are great places to start.

The Clean Air Hub provides lots of resources and help, and to check the pollution levels where you live – the Central Office of Public Interest have created a great form where inputting your postcode will generate a free air pollution report – It makes harrowing, but galvanising, reading.

More ways to take action – Today!

Breathe:2022 – Wraparound Engagement Activity

To extend the community engagement in this urgent topic, Invisible Dust presented ‘We Breathe Together – a day of community air action and exploration’ in partnership with the Horniman Museum and Gardens on 17th September 2022.

From September 2022 we are running Drawing Breath – a schools programme enabling over 130 secondary pupils from across Lewisham the chance to work with Goodwin to co-create an ambitious air pollution-focussed animation.

Breathe:2022: Watch the Launch Panel at Ninth Life, Catford – 18th May 2022

Breathe:2022 – About

Breathe:2022 by Dryden Goodwin is produced by Invisible Dust and commissioned by The Albany for ‘We are Lewisham’ – the programme for Lewisham, London Borough of Culture 2022, with the support of the Wellcome Collection. The London Borough of Culture is supported by the Mayor of London.

From venues to parks and street corners, We Are Lewisham will tell the story of Lewisham’s trailblazers past and present via music, dance, debate, public art and more. With a call to action on the climate emergency and a celebration of Lewisham’s diverse communities, the year-long programme is inspired by the borough’s rich history of activism and standing up for equality. Jointly led by Lewisham Council and The Albany, We Are Lewisham will bring together all of our neighbourhoods, communities and stories.

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