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

Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Sian Berry, who also stood as the Green Party London Mayoral candidate in 2008, has been chosen as the Green's 2016 candidate (Picture: PA Images)

Transport campaigner and arts-loving councillor Sian Berry has been selected as the Green Party candidate for London Mayor in 2016.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015
A naval vessel outside the ExCeL exhibition centre at an earlier Defence and Security Exhibition in 2011.  Other exhibits included an F16 fighter jet (Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

One of the world’s biggest arms fairs is coming to the ExCel centre in east London later this month, and more than 1,000 protestors are already planning to oppose it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
The eponymous craft beer is not always brewed in the capital (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

If there’s two things London foodies are obsessed with, it’s craft beer and local products, so it’s a surprise to learn that a drink that is named after London and boasts of being “the quintessential English lager” is sometimes brewed in Europe.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015
How should the next generation of Boris bikes look? (Photo by Steve Bardens/ Getty Images for Santander)

Santander Boris bikes as we know them could be a thing of the past after TfL issued a tender for their redesign.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015
New Fathers 4 Justice campaigners altered this local council anti- domestic violence poster in Greenwich Station (Picture: New Fathers 4 Justice)

An anti-domestic violence poster has angered fathers campaign groups and today two activists were ‘removed’ by police from a south-east London train station for defacing the council missive.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Paddy Power reckon it's a dead cert for Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn (Lauren Hurley/PA Wire)

Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the Labour leadership race is a “done deal” according to one bookmaker which has already started paying out on bets.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Get ready to take in the beautiful sights of London from above!

Are you always seeking unique ways to see your favourite city? This one is for you.

Read more
Shop till you drop!

Home to top name brands at great prices, TK Maxx is more like a treasure hunt than a shop. Perfect for grabbing a bargain or some hidden gems, you arm yourself with a trolley and go wild.

Read more
Scones, jam and a cup of Earl Grey anyone?

Luxury boutique hotel Flemings Mayfair has recently launched The Drawing Room, London’s most stylish location for afternoon tea.

Read more