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Chips off the old blocks

Southwark Weekender, Friday February 17 2006 issue 93

IF THE chips are down and you need something to make you smile look no further. Next week is your chance to shine out from the crowd in a celebrity potato look a like competition, and all in the name of charity,

writes Helen Smithson...

The winner of this year's prestigious 'Starchy Gallery' rivalry at Dulwich farmer's market will then get to exhibit their work on a plinth, alongside all other lesser entries, at Space Station Sixty-Five's gallery space. Organiser Rosie Lee said: "We want people to be as inventive as possible and then the winner will be voted for by secret ballot." She has still to send an invite to Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson this year, but is not holding out a deal of hope after the couple's 2004 and 2005 no shows. Last year's (joint) triumphant tuber was dressed up as wrestler big daddy, which beat other entries including illusionist

David Blaine (complete with a plastic box in which to publicly waste away) and a worryingly convincing Jackie Stallone, while Marilyn Monroe carried 'Best Potato Hairstyle' home for her perfect blonde ribbon curls.

But 2006 promises to be even more inspired because as well as famous sports stars, entertainers and characters from the movies, entrants are being encouraged to mimic famous works of arts with their spuds.

It is a theme inspired by last year's other joint winner - a potato version of Damien Hirst's 'The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living' (dead shark in a tank) so a pre competition visit to the Tate(y) could come in handy. Dressing up other vegetables and foodstuffs is technically disallowed, although last year Lady Godiva rode a sweet potato horse, and Princess Leah sported swiss roll hair, and entries judged by Rosie to be in bad taste will also be disqualified. Entry costs £1 and all proceeds go to Sydenham Garden Project. Potatoes must be at the ready by 10am on January 26 at the farmer's market (held at Dulwich College). Visit www.starchygallery.co.uk for more information. Space station 65 (65 Northcross Road) will have a display of last year's winners on Saturday 18, and of this year's from Monday 27.


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