Peckham 24 is back with a plan that blurs the ranges between the real and imagined

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© Valeria Cherchi.

This year, the festival expands beyond its annual house in Copeland Park, showcasing an exhibition at South London Gallery and a “very small book fair” below Peckham Rye’s railway curve

Returning to South East Greater london once again, this year’s Peckham 24 is themed TRUTH FICTION FANTASY. The works on show play with the slippery distinctions between those three words, probing ideas associated with truth and imagination.  

Opening this Friday plus running till Sunday 15 May, the festival was founded in 2016 by curator Vivienne Gamble and musician Jo Dennis. It was developed as a way to extend the festivities of photography that take place during Picture London every year, out to the south from the city.

Projects on display incorporate a surrealist show by Venezuelan artist Lucia Pizzani, the dreamlike exploration of magic and superstition by German designer Elena Helfrecht, and a good installation set to upend thoughts of image consumption with works by Ruth Beraha, Alix Marie and Jonny Briggs. As part of a wider project exhibiting artists who grew up in Northern Ireland throughout the Troubles, Gareth McConnell gifts a vivid series of flower hallucinations.  

© Gareth McConnell.

© Gareth McConnell.

Les Gatiantes, 2016. © Alix Marie.

Last year’s festival was designed SOLIDARITY: a direct response to the particular waves of public demonstration during the pandemic. “We began the new year thinking that we were turning a corner post-pandemic, and that 2022 was going to be a year associated with positive regeneration, ” states Gamble. When Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 Feb 2022, the team got already agreed on FACT HYPE FANTASY, but considered transforming its theme to reflect on the war.

“Ultimately, though, we decided that optimism was important, provided that we balanced the festival programme in a way that incorporated conversation on the more sinister makes at play, ” states Gamble. “Hopefully the audience will enjoy the tension between darkness and light which oscillates across our shows. ”

© Aishwarya Arumbakkam.

© Aishwarya Arumbakkam.

A major brand new addition to this year’s program is a partnership with South London Gallery , where it provides a show by Aishwarya Arumbakkam exploring themes of misconception and identity. Another highlight is the particular festival’s Open Call winners, Rake Collective – who explores police states and systems of control – and Gisela Torres, whom offers an uncanny dialogue using a figure from the past.

Alongside this year’s exhibitions, the particular festival is also partnering along with Biblioteka – a photobook library space newly opened under the railway arches on Peckham Rye. “They are usually hosting ‘a very small bookfair’ of independent publishers which usually promises to be another allowed addition, especially for photo book lovers, ” says Bet.

Peckham 24 opens in on Friday 13 May at 6pm in Copeland Park, Peckham. The exhibitions and events will run until Sunday 15 May.  

Joanna Cresswell

Joanna L. Cresswell is a writer and editor based in Brighton. She has written on digital photography and culture for over forty international magazines and journals, and held positions as editor for organisations including The Photographers’ Gallery, Unseen Amsterdam and Self Publish, Be Happy. She recently completed an MA in comparative literature and criticism in Goldsmiths College, University associated with London

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