Artist Gets into the Booze Business at Frieze London

The Company: Movements, Deals and Drinks beverages rangePhoto: Courtesy Rees & Company
The Company: Movements, Deals and Drinks beverages range
Photo: Courtesy Rees & Company

Art collective Myvillages, led by artist Kathrin Böhm, is launching a new beverage line at Frieze London. But forget flutes of champagne or highballs brimming with gin and tonics. Despite its glitzy art fair debut, Böhm’s latest project is more Wholefoods, less jet set soirée.

Company: Movements, Deals, and Drinks aims to generate a self-sustaining community co-operative in east London’s Barking and Dagenham districts, owned and run by local residents. It won the 2014 Create Art Award for the effort.

Thus far, output has focused on a range of retro-style drinks that include blackcurrant and rosemary cordials, elderflower lemonade, cola, and beer. Prices range from £0.50 to £6.50, making the collective’s wares not only organic and fair trade, but also rather affordable.

Böhm drew inspiration for the project from Britain’s hop-picking tradition, which started back in the 19th century and continued until the 1950s. Over 200,000 east London residents—mostly women and children—would migrate down to Kent each year for temporary seasonal work, harvesting apples, berries, hops, and other crops. Myvillages wanted to rekindle that tradition and reactivate the dormant connections between contemporary east London and the Kent countryside.

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