Hackney unveils Warm Shores by Thomas J Price on National Windrush Day
On National Windrush Day (Wednesday 22 June) Hackney demonstrated its commitment to supporting the Windrush generations with the unveiling of a permanent public artwork in Town Hall Square, honouring the borough’s Windrush community.
The unveiling of “Warm Shores” by artist Thomas J Price was celebrated with an evening of music, song and dance hosted by actor, comedian, TV and radio presenter, Eddie Nestor MBE, featuring performances from award-winning poets Mr Gee, Raymond Antrobus and KG Lester, Morningside Youth Steel Pan Band, a Reggae Choir, and Kingsmead Dynamix Drumming and Dance Group, as well as speeches from Hackney’s Windrush lead Cllr Carole Williams and Mayor Philip Glanville.
The two 9ft bronze figures are based on digital 3D images of over 30 Hackney residents with a personal connection to Windrush. The sculptures complete the Council’s Hackney Windrush Artwork Commission, established in partnership with Create London, with support from Art Fund and Freelands Foundation, which in October 2021 saw the delivery of the UK's first permanent public sculptures honouring the Windrush generation, by Turner Prize-nominated artist Veronica Ryan OBE.
In 2018 Hackney became the first UK council to pass a comprehensive motion regarding the Windrush generation, committing to recognise the harm done by the Windrush scandal. Four years later it’s a privilege to join together with residents on National Windrush Day to celebrate the completion of our Hackney Windrush Art Commission and witness the historic unveiling of Thomas J Price's sculptures, a project in which I was honoured to personally play a part.
The two striking figures will form a permanent reminder to everyone passing through the town hall square about the Windrush generation, those who are directly affected by the Windrush scandal, and the positive contribution migrant communities make to life in Hackney. I look forward to seeing Warm Shores become a meeting point for residents and visitors to the borough, and watching as they take their pictures with the artwork.
Hackney is proud to be an inclusive borough. We have worked hard over the past few years to make sure our public spaces and art reflect our community’s diverse history and to ensure that all our residents feel seen and understood. Thomas J Price’s work Warm Shores is a bold and beautiful contribution from Hackney to the story of Black Britain, and a further powerful symbol of the Council’s commitment to the thousands of the Windrush generation who helped build this borough and call Hackney home.
National Windrush Day
Although Windrush Day has been celebrated in the Caribbean community for years, National Windrush Day was introduced in the UK in June 2018 on the 70th anniversary of the Windrush migration. The day marks the arrival of African-Caribbean immigrants to the shores of Britain and honours the British Caribbean community. An estimated half a million people made their way to England after the Second World War.
Hackney Windrush Art Commission
The announcement was made on National Windrush Day 2020 following an extensive consultation process which began in 2018. The final decision to select Thomas J Price and Veronica Ryan to make two separate pieces of work was made by a panel including Hackney residents, Windrush campaigners, artists, architects and local councillors including Cllr Carole Williams – Hackney’s appointed Cabinet lead for Windrush. The panel was chaired by Mark Sealy, director of Hackney-based gallery Autograph ABP, with approval from Mayor Phillip Glanville.
The Hackney Windrush Art Commission is commissioned by Hackney Council and produced and curated by Create London. It is funded by the Art Fund, with additional support from the Henry Moore Foundation. The accompanying extensive public programme is kindly supported by the Freelands Foundation.
Thomas J Price
Thomas J Price was born in South London (1981). He received his BA in Fine Art Sculpture at Chelsea College of Art (2001-2004) and completed his MA in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art in (2004-2006.) Price's practice spans sculpture, photography, film and animation. Price has held solo exhibitions at prestigious institutions including The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada; The National Portrait Gallery, London, UK; and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, UK. Price’s sculpture ‘The Distance Within’ is currently on view in Marcus Garvey Park, New York, until October 2022 as part of ‘Witness’; a commissioned project with Studio Museum Harlem. In 2021 he joined the international gallery Hauser and Wirth. Price lives and works in London.
Create London is an arts organisation that has pioneered working with artists to realise new social enterprises, charities and cultural spaces. It commissions, curates and incubates long-term projects that are useful to society, supporting artists to work collaboratively with local communities. It reimagines the role of the artist in the city, working outside of galleries to find new and often surprising ways for art to become part of everyday life. Create London is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. https://createlondon.org/
In 2018, Hackney was the first UK council to pass a comprehensive Motion regarding the Windrush generation. Alongside lobbying for justice for those affected by the Windrush Scandal, honouring the Windrush community is key to the borough’s commitments. Hackney Council’s Windrush Engagement Program supports the borough’s ongoing pledge to honor the valuable contributions of the Windrush generation. https://hackney.gov.uk/windrush
Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art. It provides millions of pounds every year to help museums to acquire and share works of art across the UK, further the professional development of their curators, and inspire more people to visit and enjoy their public programmes. Art Fund is independently funded, supported by the 130,000 members who buy the National Art Pass, who enjoy free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic places, 50% off major exhibitions, and receive Art Quarterly magazine. Art Fund also supports museums through its annual prize, Art Fund Museum of the Year. www.artfund.org
Freelands Foundation was set up in 2015 to give more people the chance to engage with and enjoy the arts in the UK, with a particular focus on education. Their ambition is to give everyone access to art education in the belief that it raises their aspirations and transforms their opportunities in life. They have worked with more than 30 arts organisations across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to support artists and broaden their engagement in their communities. https://freelandsfoundation.co.uk/