Ewalina, The Clifton Arms (South Drawood exhibition)
- Year Invented: 2018
Ewalina has lived in South Norwood for around 16 years, working in different pubs. She was working at The Clifton Arms part time behind the bar when the opportunity came for her to take over in October 2019 just before the Covid-19 outbreak.
Covid-19 was difficult for the pub as it was for all of hospitality. She said that when they could finally open up in the garden it was amazing to see punters out socialising again; however, some people still opted to buy drink to have at home rather than to venture back out again. Luckily the pub is now building back to its buzzing self. Being right opposite Selhurst Park, they only allow Palace fans in on match days and she says the atmosphere (no matter what the score) is always amazing.
Ewalina loves people and says that everyone who comes into the pub is friendly. She is still building up be base of regulars, and likes to give opportunities to other aspiring businesses. Just see Bradley in the garden for a great example (or read his own bio in this exhibition under Rocco Deli!). She also has invited punters in to perform at the pub after hearing them sing to their friends around the bar.
Originally from Poland, Ewalina lived in Clapham and Hackeny before moving to South Norwood with her partner for their children. The people are her favourite thing about the areas well as the sense of community. She notes that over the last four years the area has been changing for the better. She sees new businesses opening and bringing new things to the high street. She loves to see families out and about, and says that more parks and play areas for children would make the area complete.
Words by Elizabeth Walters
Interview with Ewalina, Owner of The Clifton Arms, March 2022
The Clifton Arms
21 Clifton Road, London, SE25 6NJ
This project was part of the South Drawood exhibition in 2022 by artist Jonny Kemp. A community art project celebrating the people of South Norwood, SE25.
From autumn of 2021 to summer 2022, Jonny drew 40 portraits of independent business owners, volunteers, and other movers and shakers from South Norwood, his local area. His partner Lizzie interviewed them.
South Norwood is regenerating yet doesn’t want to gentrify: it wants to keep its character and support people who already live in the area to prosper. This was Jonny and Lizzie’s way of ‘giving South Norwood a hug’: by representing the diverse people of SE25 through portraits in fine liner pen, and their own stories.
The portraits were displayed in Stanley Arts, a beautiful Edwardian arts venue on South Norwood Hill. Over 150 people attended the opening night: Friday 29th July 2022.