SAY IT WITH FLOWERS - Giant floral artwork unveiled in Hackney

Huge floral artwork to honour Hackney hero Fatima Roberts

A Hackney resident who works tirelessly on behalf of vulnerable homeless people has had her name planted in flowers in Clissold Park, N16.

Fatima Roberts was nominated by her friend and colleague Emmy Minton as part of artist Joshua Sofaer’s project ‘Rooted in the Earth’ which celebrates unsung heroes.

It is one of five floral artworks spelling out the names of local heroes in large ornamental beds in parks across the five host boroughs for the 2012 Games - Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

Fatima works at Open Doors, a Hackney-based charity that helps homeless people. The 49-year-old grandmother-of-two said: “I was quite honoured and quite humbled to see my name there in Clissold Park, in Hackney, which is a place I know and love. All my working life has been in Hackney.

“I was really surprised that I had won. It was amazing, as I have never been nominated for anything or won anything in my life - not even a raffle. I think it’s wonderful that anybody who works in the borough can be nominated. It’s a great opportunity to highlight what goes on in the borough and it will be great to bring people to see this.”

Emmy has worked with Fatima for about three years and explained why she nominated her: “Fatima is a rooted in the earth, salt of the earth, fantastically fabulous, living saint of a human being. She spends her time supporting and lobbying for Hackney’s most vulnerable women with reserves of empathy, patience and commitment that inspire and energise everyone around her.”

Hackney Council leads on CREATE for the Five Host Boroughs. Speaking on behalf of the Host Borough Cultural Partnership Board, Cllr Guy Nicholson, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration and the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, said: “It’s fabulous to see Fatima’s commitment and dedication recognised by Joshua Sofaer’s growing artwork in one of our great parks. ‘Rooted in the Earth’ is a fantastic way for us to celebrate the most basic of Olympic ideals, to contribute to our communities and to support our fellow citizens.”

Artist Joshua Sofaer was the joint winner of the inaugural Bank of America Create Art Award, a participatory art prize which brings together the five host boroughs with the support of the Whitechapel Gallery. He is known for his engaging artworks, including Scavenger Hunt at Tate and Edinburgh Festival and Name in Lights in Birmingham City Centre.

The flowerbeds will be unveiled from Monday13th July, as part of CREATE09, and will be on display until September in five different locations across the five boroughs including Clissold Park and the Museum Gardens of the V&A Museum of Childhood.

CREATE09 is the annual, multi–disciplinary arts festival hosted by the five host boroughs and delivered in partnership with producers, organisations and festivals. These include the Barbican, Theatre Royal Stratford, Whitechapel Gallery and The O2.

As the first in a series of annual commissions, the Bank of America Create Art Award is a significant part of CREATE09. The Award was established to encourage artists living and working in the five host boroughs to create a temporary or permanent artwork that engages and enriches the lives of the people living around them. The other winner, performance company Station House Opera, will be creating a 10-mile breeze block domino rally across the five host boroughs on Sunday 26 July. Together, these artists’ winning entries are the first major artworks to be commissioned that engage those people living closest to the 2012 Olympic Park site.

Notes to Editors

CREATE09 festival of arts runs from 22 June–2 August 2009 across a number of venues and locations that will feature over 300 events across festivals, performance, music, design, theatre, architecture, comedy, fine arts and heritage. It is a celebration of the unique character of the five host boroughs for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, reflecting the diverse communities that define the region. The festival is an official part of the Cultural Olympiad and has been awarded the Inspire Brand. CREATE09 is always capitalized and spelt as one word.

Joshua Sofaer is an artist who is centrally concerned with modes of collaboration and participation. Often with an irreverent use of humour, he plays with established forms of production, appropriating and reconfiguring the chat show, competition, lecture, or museum display. He acts as curator, producer or director of a broad range of projects, including large-scale events, intimate performances, and publications. He is well known for his Scavenger events which take place worldwide and Name in Lights which celebrated a non-celebrity and put her name in lights in Centenary Square, Birmingham in 2007.

Bank of America is a major supporter of arts and heritage in the United States, and increasingly in Europe. The approach is built on a foundation that combines responsible business practices with good corporate citizenship. As a financial institution, Bank of America is accountable for serving its shareholders, customers, associates, and the communities it serves. The bank’s support of the arts and arts-related nonprofit organizations is an effective way to serve stakeholders, in the short term, by driving positive business results through support of local economies. Over the long term, this support helps fuel innovation that characterizes the bank’s heritage, drive the nation’s progress, and shape its future.

Through its unique programme, Bank of America shares exhibits from its corporate collection with the community through museum partners as part of its Arts in the Community programme. In addition, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation provides strategic philanthropic support to museums, theatres and other arts-related nonprofits to benefit underserved populations and increase access to the arts.


For media enquiries and interview requests please contact:
Emma Britton, Interim Media Manager, Hackney Council, 020 8356 2869 or