Oct 06, 2017 | By Carlene Thomas Bailey
Inspired to live his life so he could “do the least boring stuff possible like jobs and just skate everyday”, London entrepreneur Lev Tanju has transformed the face of British skatewear with his brand, Palace Skateboards.
Since the brand’s launch back in 2009, Lev has taken the London-born brand from its grass roots in Waterloo to one of streetwear’s most sought after brands, worn by skate and fashion heads alike as well as a long list of celebs like Kanye West, A$AP Rocky and Rihanna.
With Palace Skateboards’ ever-popular Tri-ferg emblem showing no sign of slowing down, the brand’s founder Lev just launched a special exhibition with internationally renowned photographer Alasdair McLellan at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. Launched last week (July 8th), the exhibition showcases a collection of archive and unseen images of Palace Skateboards’ renowned team and its extended family in the London skate gang, the Palace Wayward Boys Choir (PWBC).
The exhibition offers a fascinating insight into the characters orbiting the beloved brutalist home of skateboarding on London’s Southbank, which McLellan has been documenting since 2009, around the same time Palace came about, and his photos pay homage to the “friendship, nonconformity and a do-it-yourself attitude” that sits at the heart of the British skateboarding community.
The images are accompanied by a new video installation from Palace Skateboard’s founder, Lev Tanju. With an idiosyncratically British edge, Tanju’s anarchic videography and McLellan’s tender portraits come together to provide a dynamic picture of London and skateboarding. The show is a celebration of the deep camaraderie found amongst skaters at the Southbank. It is a testament to friendship, non-conformity and a doing-it-yourself attitude.
Commenting on the exhibition McLellan said he liked the Palace crew because “it was very British, and they all dressed more like they were going to a football match than skating in Waterloo. The fact that they were aged 15 to 30, and it looked like they could be in Fagin’s gang; it was like something out of a Dickens novel.”
Catch the exhibit on display until July 24 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London
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