Major new artwork set to honour local Windrush community: residents invited to feedback on proposals

Hackney Council is set to commission a new, permanent public artwork to celebrate and honour the borough’s Windrush generation. 

The artwork will be installed in Hackney Town Hall Square, at the heart of civic and community life. It will symbolise the ongoing commitment of the borough to welcome people from all parts of the world, providing a safe refuge, celebrating diversity and respecting identity. 

The project is commissioned in partnership with Genesis Foundation and will be produced by arts organisation Create London. It follows as a cultural legacy to the success of the Council's Windrush Engagement Programme, which started in 2018. Working directly with over 3,000 Windrush elders and their descendants on intergenerational activities in areas of arts, heritage, sport, health and education, the programme has given African Caribbean elders a voice and reconnected younger generations with their heritage.

A group of external curators has nominated artists with Afro-Caribbean heritage to submit proposals for the artwork, and the three final proposals will now go on show across the borough to ensure local residents have a say on which piece is commissioned. The Council's Cultural Development Team has set up a panel which includes local councillors, Hackney residents, Windrush campaigners, artists and architects and it is chaired by Mark Sealy MBE, the Director of Hackney-based gallery Autograph. The final recommendation will be made by the panel in January 2020.

The three finalists are artists Veronica Ryan, Thomas J Price and a joint proposal by Hew Locke and Indra Khanna. The proposals include figurative sculptures, large-scale Caribbean fruit sculptures made from bronze and marble and paving plaques depicting SS Empire Windrush. The proposals went on display on Monday 25 November at a Town Hall event where Windrush community members and schools were invited to view and share their thoughts. 

Residents are now invited to view and comment on the proposals at sites across Hackney, including Hackney Central Library and the CLR James Library from Monday 28 November to Monday 20 January. A further event at Hackney Town Hall is being planned for January 2020. The proposals can also be seen at windrush artwork. 

Feedback on the three proposals can be sent to windrushartwork@hackney.gov.uk.


Notes to Editors

For further information, please contact: Corrina.Antrobus@hackney.gov.uk.

Hackney Council

In August 2018, Hackney Council became the first UK local authority to pass a motion regarding the Windrush Generation. It now cements its position as a borough committed to providing refuge and welcome to immigrants from all countries, who are so central in the story and identity of Hackney.

Create London

Create London is a charity that explores the ways artists can contribute to the lives of people in cities. Its work is primarily focused in east London, home to more artists and art organisations than anywhere in Europe, and one of the most economically deprived parts of the UK. Create helps artists to connect more closely with communities through an ambitious programme of projects. Unlike a gallery or theatre, Create has no fixed public space, preferring to work in the places people encounter every day.

Genesis Foundation

Established by John Studzinski in 2001, the Genesis Foundation works in partnership with leaders of prestigious UK arts organisations such as LAMDA, the National Theatre, The Sixteen and the Young Vic. Its largest funding commitment is to programmes that support directors, playwrights, actors and musicians in the early stages of their professional lives.

The Genesis Foundation awards the bi-annual Genesis Prize to outstanding mentors of young artistic talent; it is the only arts award to focus on mentors and the vital role they play in an artist’s development. Past recipients comprise Hamish Dunbar (Café Oto), Polly Staple (Chisenhale Gallery), Hadrian Garrard (Create) and Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson (Good Chance Theatre).