Typography has always been a powerful but, we'd argue, a rather under-appreciated art form. Despite it being central to many types of work and mediums, many of the major figureheads in the typography world are only known by art aficionados and industry insiders alike. But, with a new installation of work by colour enthusiast and artist Lakwena on display in Covent Garden, this under-the-radar artform may soon emerge on top.

London-born, and with exhibitions presented globally under her belt, Lakwena has inspired many through her powerful text-based messages, that are painted in larger-than-life bold shades. This summer, her work returns to Covent Garden, where flags declaring 'Nothing Can Separate Us' have been hung along Floral Street and bollards have been dressed in an equally eye-catching colour palette. 

Lakwena told us more about the project and what she loves about London in a conversation below:

What was the inspiration behind this project?
At the start of 2020 I began making a painting that read ‘Nothing Can Separate Us’, to hang in my home. Shortly after this the pandemic broke out, we went into lockdown, and the painting took on a wider meaning. Those sentiments seem especially poignant now as we come out of lockdown and London comes back together.

Could you explain why you chose the message 'Nothing Can Separate Us' for this piece of work?
My work began as an act of self-definition, putting back together things that had fallen apart, reclaiming broken pieces and finding new ones.  I have not found all the pieces. My work is an ongoing form of resistance attempting to rebuild and restore what has been lost.

The message of this work seems very reflective of events that have happened over the past year (e.g the pandemic, the BLM movement, Brexit), can you explain the process of your artwork and how you create the messages for each of them?
The messages are a response to the realities of every day life. The works could be described as escape routes. The words speak into situations for the raising of spirits.

Your work has taken you all over the world, what is it about London that you love?
I was born here, it’s my home so it’s familiar and I have so many memories here. This city has a very long history, so many things have happened in these streets, but at the same time there isn’t a rigid adherence to tradition that is boring or stifling. I think the combination of history and relevance is what is very special about London.

How do you feel about Covent Garden being the next location for your artwork?
It’s such a historic and iconic part of the city so it’s a real privilege for my work to hang in its streets.

The installation is running until August, and you can visit it anywhere along Floral Street in Covent Garden, London WC2.

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