Hackney Council has revealed that two new public artworks will be unveiled in the borough next year and will be the first permanent monuments in the UK to honour the Windrush Generation.
Artists Thomas J Price and Veronica Ryan are creating the artworks and they will be installed in 2021. Their announcement coincides with Windrush Day today (June 22).
Thomas J Price will use photo archives and digital 3D scans to create a large-scale bronze sculpture located outside the Town Hall in the centre of Hackney and will attempt to address the disproportionate lack of statues representing Black citizens in the UK.
The mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, said the sculptures were a “real message of pride ” for the Windrush generation and their descendants in the borough. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, recently unveiled a commission to review and improve diversity across the public spaces in London.
“It’s not an answer to the statue conversation. But I think it’s an early down payment on righting some of that wrong, and a chance to see more diverse people represented in a public realm,” said Glanville.
Speaking on sculptures, Price said: “I think representation is incredibly important.
“It’s been so lacking, we just haven’t had it. You can count on one hand the number of public sculptures of statues of non-white people, and it’s even worse for black people. You have to be Nelson Mandela. It’s incredible. And yet that is just seen as normal.”
Veronica Ryan will create a series of large marble and bronze sculptures representing Caribbean fruit and vegetables.
On her inspiration, she said: “I have memories of going to Ridley Road Market with my mother as a child to buy fruit and vegetables, fabrics, and sewing materials. Little did I know, those early experiences would become essential material for my practice as an artist.
“I remember as a toddler during the 1950s the difficulties my young hopeful parents from Montserrat dealt with, navigating a new country and often inhospitable circumstances.”
Today’s news follows a recent decision by the council to review the role of statues and naming landmarks, street names, parks, and other public spaces throughout the borough.