If you go down to a South London community garden today, you'll be in for a big surprise. Among the shrubs and plants, someone has built a huge festive homage to fried chicken.
Yesterday, South Norwood residents were left perplexed after Sharon, a mannequin dressed as an angel and clutching a fried chicken drumstick and barber scissors, appeared in an area of green space in the district.
The angelic sculpture is the creation of local resident Rose Bartlett and has caused quite a stir on social media.
Could Barlett just be London's biggest fried chicken fan? Or is there something more going on here? We caught up with the artist to find out more about her Dixie's-inspired Christmas decoration.
MUNCHIES: Hi Rose, so what's the story behind Sharon? Rose Bartlett: I live in a relatively poor area of South East London and we've got quite a dilapidated high street. For years, we've been asking the council for Christmas lights. We didn't have any so we decided to put Sharon up. This year we actually got some lights but we'd already arranged to have Sharon so we went ahead with it.
Why is she holding fried chicken and scissors? I'm one of the associates on the South Norwood Tourist Board and we tend to run stories that poke fun at people in power. That's where my ethos lay with Sharon. It also pokes fun at the rumours of gentrification and a bit of fun at people around these parts who aren't particularly happy with the amount of chicken shops and barbers that we have.
We also have a chicken drumstick and a pair of barber scissors on the South Norwood Tourist Board flag, which one of my associates thought up some time ago.
Because Sharon is modelled and her arms are outstretched, it's an ideal way of showing off these two items. She's a bit like the Statue of Liberty!
Why did you put Sharon up in a public garden? She's in the Sensible Garden, which is a space we reclaimed. There's a real backlog of traffic around there at rush hour. People tend to slow down and gaze lovingly at her. She's either the first thing you see when you get to South Norwood or the last thing you see as you're leaving. It's a nice thing for people to see on a dark, gloomy night—she just looks like she belongs in a 70s disco!
What does she represent to you? She's a celebration of the area. We're always keen to up the working man and woman and make sure that everyone remembers this is a proudly working class area.
It's about trying to save the shops that we have left but we don't want South Norwood to become like some of the other areas around here where it's coffee shop after coffee shop. We still want to keep our working class roots.
What has the reaction been like from the community? The reaction has been positive, absolutely positive. Everyone has said that she should be nominated for the next Turner Prize! Everyone absolutely adores her. There are a few people who have grumbled but on the whole, everyone loves Sharon.
Thanks for talking with me, Rose.