This evening at 5pm will see the opening of an exhibition at the Deaf Cat coffee bar in Rochester, themed around the recent demolition of a heritage site brought about by Medway Council and Medway Renaissance, who thought we’d all much prefer a car park but didn’t actually consult anyone.
Originally, Save Medway’s Heritage (a Facebook campaign group) decided to raise awareness by staging a protest and telling the TV, papers and radio what was going on, and Medway Eyes was invited along in support. The artist Peter Reeds also came along to paint the scene and his work soon became a focal point. Peter went back to the site a few more times to record the demise of the building and to create some beautiful works as though to spite the ongoing destruction.
Those paintings are now the centrepieces of a fine exhibition at a great venue, which we thoroughly recommend.
Possibly its most important event this year, the Medway Eyes Photo Walk drew attention from far and wide. Due to coverage on the BBC, in The Independent, Amateur Photographer, the British Jounal of Photography, as well as local papers, Monaxle and Medway Eyes became momentarily famous for all the wrong reasons. Medway Eyes didn’t set itself up as a civil rights group, but found itself at the heart of a debate which has been snowballing since legislation was introduced allowing police officers to arrest anyone, for
any reason, under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
Section 44 is one of the more controversial laws introduced during New Labour’s tenure; part of an avalanche of more than 3600 new criminal offences set to bury us all in bureaucracy and undermine our rights. Under Section 44, the police need not have any grounds for arrest at all. So, if you carry a camera, or a mobile phone, or a rucksack, or if you drive a van, or wear a beard, then watch your back, because that’s all it takes. Abandoning all common sense, it seems, the government has exercised extreme stupidity
in order to legislate against extreme stupidity. What’s it going to do next? Arrest itself?
Despite the events which inspired the photo walk, the day itself saw a hefty contingent of happy photographers descend on Medway from all over the place. A slideshow of what they saw can be seen on the Rights and Wrongs page on the Medway Eyes website.
You can follow the details of Monaxle’s case on his blog.
And here’s some video. The first is from The Independent. The second is from Babycravat.