15th December 2022 People
Alison Ramm was one of the first squatters in the early 1980s of 11 Vauxhall Grove that later became the BCCA building. Alison’s iconic ‘Woman with a Crowbar’ painting was originally hung above the Café’s open fireplace in celebration of the founding spirit of the local community when the Café provided a refuge for the squatters who’s vital energies gave heart and soul to its now historically renowned creative regeneration. The Cafe was then one of the only local dwellings with a working kitchen where squatters could meet in commune to share hot food, conversation and companionship by the warmth of a blazing fire.
The Café became a renowned focal point to a vibrant alternative culture of energetic bohemians whose legacy still prevails attracting attention from around the world from those who still value its founding principals. Without Alison’s direct action and founding commitment the Bonnington Community Café would not exist. The painting mysteriously disappeared during the early 1990s.
After years of absence, a copy of the original painting was reproduced from photographs by its original creator and re-dedicated to the BCCA during a special Benefit Event on January 31st 2020 quietly organised by local veterans. The painting was ceremonially re-situated with great enthusiasm and support from over 100 members of the original squatter and current local community with free food and entertainments provided by some of the earliest Café cooks, and music played by members of the Happy End, an historic local musicians’ collective and other founding community members.
During recent renovations that marked the long awaited reclamation of the Cafe to its founding function and ethos, Alison’s Woman with a Crowbar copy was respectfully rehung above the fireplace in the first floor kitchenette to allow space for other local artists to share their works in the freshly revitalised Bonnington Centre Community Café and Gallery.