1978: Women We Meet

Women We Meet

RHONDA WHITEHEAD Is very excited about the fact that she’s painting a tunnel.

Which may possibly sound uninspiring. But give her another month and 26 year-old Rhonda, the woman we meet this week, will undoubtedly prove otherwise.

The tunnel in question was a depressing-looking entrance under Muswell Hill, used mainly by children going to and from Muswell Hill Primary School.

Parents had several times tried to get something done about it, with little success, until one of them, a teacher at the teacher training college which is linked with Hornsey College of Art and the Institute of Education, asked Haringey’s borough engineer If the students could use it as a design project.

Enter Rhonda, who lives with her architect husband In Birchington Road, Crouch End, and who until last June was a student at the college doing a specialist teaching course.

She submitted four designs for the tunnel, one of which was chosen and is pictured on the scale model she holds In our photograph, and the council agreed to pay for the materials.

So, first of all, Rhonda and friends scrubbed all the dirt and moss from the outside walls and washed down the tunnel walls and ceiling.

Then they started on the task of painting undercoat and white base coat Over the entire surface, before Rhonda could be left in peace to put on the colour, a job she thinks will take about a month.

The Idea was to get people moving fairly quickly through the tunnel, so Rhonda decided on the four strong colours of red, blue, green and yellow.

“I tried to destroy the perspective of the tunnel,” she explained, “It’s very long and boring, so if you painted horizontal stripes It would make it worse. So there are bands of colour to get a feeling of disorientation.”

“I was very concerned with the Idea of space and tried not to approach it to the sense of doing a painting. I am very……………….


College of Art. Her interest now is in kinetics, – moving art forms such as those which hang on a wall or stand by themselves, or those which have to be plugged In and work in either day- or ultra. Violet light.

She showed one of these art forms at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, and the same exhibit, a black box with moving white bars, was then sent to the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts Exhibition.

Another string to her bow is the art class she has run for the past five years at a fine art college In Notting Hill Gate, and she has just submitted designs to paint a 90-feet-long brick wall in Kentish Town,

It all takes a lot of paint. By the time Rhonda has finished her tunnel, for instance, she will have used 15 tins each of under and base coats, and three of each of the four colours.

Which all adds up to a lot more brightness on the Muswell Hill scene.