Gerry’s Pompeii: Campaigners ‘occupy’ artist’s old home to preserve ‘magic kingdom’

Gerry's Pompeii. Picture: Heini Schneebeli

Gerry's Pompeii. Picture: Heini Schneebeli - Credit: Archant

An anonymous group of activists have “occupied” the former home of Maida Hill artist Gerard ‘Gerry’ Dalton who died over the summer.

In his Notting Hill Genesis (NHG) social home in Maida Hill, Gerry created a "magic kingdom" of sculptures, wall mounts and a 50m long mural.

But it was the sheer scale of his "Pompeii" artwork that has stunned friends and relatives.

Naturally, after his death the housing association were keen to take back the property.

When Sasha Galitzine and Niklas Gustafson were made aware of the treasure trove of artwork they began crowdfunding to meet the asking price - £550,000.

Niklas said: "As a way to keep NHG out of the property an anonymous group have occupied the flat until further notice. Until then we are waiting for larger 'high-up' progress to be made."

The group are hoping the GLA's Culture at Risk board might step in. In a statement, those occupying the building said they had "reluctantly taken matters into our own hands". It continued: "We are determined to ensure that our neighbour Gerry's unique artistic vision is protected and safely conserved, but we don't feel confident of that outcome."

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All involved emphasised they understand the importance of social housing, and would like to purchase the property to help fund an equivalent close by.

Art world bigwigs including former Tate Gallery director Sir Nicholas Serota and leading artist Richard Wentworth have backed the campaign - as has musician Jarvis Cocker. Louis Platman, curator of the Geffrye Museum of the Home, said the campaign is a "hugely important task".

A spokesperson for NHG said: "Gerry's death was very sad, but his memory lives on in the inspiring and extraordinary artwork he has left for his family and friends.

"We are giving as much support as we can to protect his legacy and encourage his friends, as well as art lovers who have so admired his work, to ensure it is looked after and available for people to see and appreciate in the future.

"But we are a housing association and our priority has to be providing a home to people who need one. Gerry's former home is in an area of huge housing demand and we must enable others to enjoy the safety and security of social housing."