Flash mob protest in Tower Hamlets in bid to save Henry Moore’s ‘Old Flo’

22:04 12 November 2012

Old Flos and a Henry Moore lookalike protest outside Tower Hamlets Town Hall.

Old Flos and a Henry Moore lookalike protest outside Tower Hamlets Town Hall.

Archant

A ‘flash’ protest mob turned up at Tower Hamlets Town Hall today to protest against the proposed sale of Henry Moore’s Old Flo sculpture.

The protest took place this afternoon. Picture: Isabel InfantesThe protest took place this afternoon. Picture: Isabel Infantes

Mayor Lutfur Rahman has put the 8ft bronze artwork, Draped Seated Woman, up for auction at Christie’s, in the face of a public outcry.

Figures from the art world turned up outside the council offices in east London, many dressed as ‘Old Flo’ draped in shawls sitting on the ground.

A pipe-smoking Henry Moore lookalike even turned up, American artist Jessica Voorsanger, to express her anger.

The flash protest was ‘sparked’ by lecturer Bob Smith from the London Met University’s Cass art school in Whitechapel.

He said: “It’s madness to sell this sculpture. Moore took his inspiration from his drawings of people down the air-raid shelters during the Blitz.

“That image is so tied up with the East End’s wartime air-raid shelter disaster at Bethnal Green.

“Hitler tried to destroy the East End, while after the war artists like Moore and architects were rebuilding it.

“The vision and foresight of previous generations should not be dismantled and sold off to cover the ineptitude of the Town Hall.”

He now plans a campaign to urge auction houses not to accept the sculpture for sale—and might even plan a ‘flash’ protest if an auction goes ahead.

But Christie’s confirmed this afternoon that Tower Hamlets Council had instructed them to offer the sculpture at public auction in February.

The 1.5 tonne work was given to the people of the East End as a ‘gift’ for a knock-down price in 1962 by the artist to be erected on a working-class council housing estate.

It was put up at Stepney’s Stifford Estate where it remained until the estate was pulled down in 1997 and sent to Yorkshire Sculpture Park for “safe keeping” for the past 15 years.

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London politics news

Friday, March 20, 2015
With the election coverage reaching fever picth here are some interesting things you may have missed (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

In amongst all the political rhetoric, endless polling and debate about having debates there’s plenty of interesing things you might have missed about the General Election. That’s why we’re here to fill you in:

Friday, March 20, 2015
Check out our guide to making sure you can cast your vote on May 7 (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Whether you’re a first-time voter or you’ve just not got round to it yet – our handy guide to voting will help you make sure you don’t miss out on the chance to make your voice count.

Thursday, March 19, 2015
The letter from Sarah Sackman - clearly signed off as MP for Finchley and Golders Green

When trying to win an election confidence in your ability is key - but signing off letters as MP despite the election still being 50 days away is probably a bit presumptuous.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015
(Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)

The three chancellors George Osborne, Ed Balls and Danny Alexander took scrambled to get their hands on bank notes today during a Crystal Dome cash grab.

Thursday, March 12, 2015
(Picture: Crowdwish)

A bunch of hilarious anti-Ukip posters mocking Nigel Farage’s fashion sense and the party’s bizarre policies have been spotted around London - but who put them there?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Critics said using water cannon in London would be 'dangerous' (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

It looks increasingly unlikely anyone is going to give the go-ahead for water cannon to be used in London – so what will happen to the £218,000 investment?

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...