No Comply

Somerset House's No Comply explores the phenomena of skateboarding and the impact of its culture and communities on the UK over the last 45 years. Peter Gray reports.

Photo: Robert Gifford

With skateboarding set to feature in the Olympic games for the first time this summer, no one can argue that Somerset House’s No Comply is not well timed.

The exhibition explores the phenomena, trappings, and cultural impact of the sport over the last 45 years using art, fashion, design, sound, photography and archive material.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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“No Comply celebrates the country’s vibrant and diverse skateboarding scene, documenting the transformative influence the subculture has played in shaping people, cities and culture in the UK” says the Somerset House website.

The show will look at not only at the empowering DIY ethos of the sport but also at the communities and initiatives that have helped create positive change.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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No Comply will also look at the dramatic growth of skateboarding during the recent pandemic with skateboarding shops and clubs reporting a phenomenal increase in interest during the last twelve months. Indeed, the UK can now boast over 750,000 skaters and 1,500 active skate parks with those numbers increasing on an almost a daily basis.

The activity has certainly proved the perfect lockdown pursuit with would be skaters able to pursue the activity by virtually anywhere and without any assistance.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The exhibition seeks to tell the story of skateboarding in the UK through three major themes: the city as playground, skateboarding communities, and DIY culture.

City as Playground focuses on the way skateboarding has helped reimagine the urban landscape, with skateboarders occupying, reclaiming, and repurposing urban spaces into sites of creativity and play.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Skateboarding communities (doing it with others) looks at how skateboarding permeates fashion and video game culture, and the ways design continues to define the subculture’s collective identity, as well as trends both on the runway and in streetstyle.

Visitors to the exhibition will also have a chance to witness Thrasher Presents Skate and Destroy – the first video game to recreate the experience of street skateboarding in a UK location. The game, which was created by games company, Rockstar, is available to play on the Sony PlayStation.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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DIY Culture showcases stories from skate communities in the UK and beyond, from inspiring initiatives promoting positive change through skateboarding, to the preservation of sites in which the communities are formed and maintained. Featuring archival objects, photographs and personal anecdotes, the exhibition tells stories of the UK’s most successful grassroots campaigns for creative space, including Long Live Southbank.

The exhibition is curated by Tory Turk, with expert insight from acclaimed British skateboarder and Somerset House Visitor Experience Manager Helena Long.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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No Comply is at Somerset House from the until the. More information about the exhibition can be found here.

For information on other current exhibitions in London, please click here.

 

-London's Best Events-
What: exhibition
When: 19 Jul - 19 Sep 21
Where: Somerset House
Website: No Comply