On 22 June, Hackney Council announced that artists Thomas J Price and Veronica Ryan as the winning artists to be commissioned to create two new individual public artworks celebrating and honouring Hackney’s Windrush Generation, the first permanent public sculptures to do so in the UK.
The artworks will be unveiled in 2021, and will be installed in two different locations at the heart of civic and community life in the borough, including outside Hackney Town Hall. The works will serve as a permanent expression of solidarity with the Windrush Generation, a recognition of the hugely significant contribution they have made to life in Hackney and the UK, and will symbolise the ongoing commitment from the borough to provide refuge and welcome to worldwide migrants.
The announcement follows the Council’s decision to review the role of statues and the naming of landmarks, street names, parks and other public spaces to ensure they best reflect Hackney’s diversity and history of fighting racism.
How we chose the artworks
The announcement was made on Windrush Day 2020, and follows an extensive consultation process which began in 2018. Following an initial shortlisting process, the final decision was made by a panel including Hackney residents, Windrush campaigners, artists, architects and local councillors including Cllr Carole Williams – Hackney’s Windrush lead. The panel was chaired by Mark Sealy, director of Hackney-based gallery Autograph ABP, with approval from Mayor Phillip Glanville.
The project, produced in partnership with Create and the Genesis Foundation, is part of the Council’s wider 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.