Chewing Gum Art On Millennium Bridge: Sign The Petition

Chewing gum art in the shape of St Pauls

Another bit of “quirky London” is threatened.

They call it the chewing-gum bridge. They, in this case, being my two young children who insist we cross Millennium Bridge whenever we’re in that part of London. They’re not alone. What we once called the “wobbly bridge” is increasingly gaining a reputation for its tiny street art.

Millennium footbridge over the Thames

The bridge’s decking, you see, is decorated with countless examples of painted chewing gum. Each miniature masterpiece is the work of Ben Wilson. The guerrilla artist has spent many, many hours on hands and knees transforming spent gum into coin-sized dollops of beauty.

His handiwork is now threatened by engineering work, which will include a deep clean of the bridge’s decking. Obviously, nobody wants to get in the way of bridge maintenance, especially on this much-loved link between St Paul’s and Tate Modern. But the thorough scouring will remove every single example of Ben’s chewing gum art, built up over more than a decade of effort.

A petition has now been set up in an attempt to conserve a small selection of the artworks.

A bit of chewing gum artwork commemorating alfie 2016

The tiny pictures, some of which are personalised and by-request, mean so much to so many. You only have to read a few of the comments on the petition to see this.

“Ben’s work on the bridge means the world to me. After my grandfather died he painted a chewing-gum for me, I can find it with my eyes closed,” says Agnese.

“I always show friends when visiting and I’ve used it as an example of paying attention to the beauty all around us!,” comments Liz.

Chewing gum art with chinese characters

“I moved to London in 2012. I vividly remember noticing these little beauties for the first time — I was just happy as a little kid. It’s such a fond memory of mine, it made me love London,” adds Derya.

Ben’s chewing gum artworks are the perfect embodiment of an “urban oddity“… those little, trivial things that you can walk past every day and never notice until, by chance, you do. They will not end poverty, or reduce crime, or sort of the difficulties with your landlord. But they do put a smile on the face of everybody who sees them, thereby adding to the communal stock of delight.

A view along millennium bridge with st pauls behind

If you value such things, then do add your name and a comment to the growing petition.

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