5 years after Grenfell: public artwork19 May 2022
ACAVA marks fifth anniversary of Grenfell Tower fire with a community-created public artwork and documentary photography exhibition
The culmination of a four-year art project will be permanently installed along the streets in North Kensington to mark the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy on 14 June 2022. The Grenfell Memorial Community Mosaic – initiated in 2018 by ACAVA in partnership with Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre – is an art project that has brought hundreds of local people together to make large-scale public mosaics. Co-created by different community, resident, faith and school groups along with individual participants under the guidance of artists Emily Fuller and Tomomi Yoshida, the project has enabled people to connect and to memorialise the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Read more about the mosaic here.
The new piece, Walking as One will see 39 mosaics installed in the streets creating pavement way-markers along the route of the Grenfell Silent Walk. The circular mosaics include the green heart now synonymous with Grenfell, and 72 gold flecks for each life lost in the fire. 35 of the pieces feature the word ‘Justice’ representing the different languages spoken by people living in the tower, and the final three mosaics quote “Forever in our hearts”. The piece concludes with a special stone featuring the leaf motifs connecting with the mosaic artworks created earlier in the project that are installed on the hoarding around Grenfell Tower.
Piece Together: Documenting Grenfell Memorial Community Mosaic is an exhibition showcasing the images taken by ACAVA’s young and emerging photographers’ group, ACAVA Shoots. The photographs chart the creation of the Grenfell Memorial Community Mosaic public artworks, alongside photographs of the community since the tragedy. The exhibition runs from 10 – 30 June at Maxilla Walk Studios in North Kensington with a special opening on 14 June to mark the anniversary, providing a quiet space for local people to reflect and view the photographs. It then opens at The Photographer’s Gallery from 8 – 10 July. The ACAVA Shoots programme supports emerging photographers from North Kensington to develop their professional practice and portfolios, through mentoring and paid assignments.
ACAVA has a 20-year history collaborating with local communities in North Kensington, creating meaningful experiences with positive outcomes on wellbeing, personal growth, and social cohesion. Inspiring people to participate in the arts, promote confidence and learn new skills, it was recently shortlisted for the Award for Civic Arts Organisations (2022) by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and King’s College London for this work.
Lisa Nash, ACAVA Programme Manager said:
The Grenfell Memorial Community Mosaic initiative has enabled our community to come together in solidarity, and four years later, we are still noticing the positive impact that contributing to the artwork has had on participants. Memorialising the tragedy in this way has drawn local people together, creating a safe space for those that may not have otherwise connected. We’re incredibly proud to have overseen this special project and hope the hand-crafted mosaics, which have been made with love and remembrance, have a lasting resonance in our community.
“The ACAVA Shoots photographers have documented the entire span of the programme, and this will be the first time that their powerful images will be displayed. As we commemorate the five-year anniversary and the end of this initiative, we hope that visitors will join us in celebrating the achievements across the four years of workshops and of the young photographers who have documented it.”
Ismahan Egal, Art Therapy Coordinator, Al Manaar said:
“The mosaic remains a labour of love that pays homage to the lives tragically lost whilst preserving their memory and providing a creative outlet for the community to heal. The contributions towards the mosaic has been a community wide endeavour; it has afforded the community opportunities to laugh, cry, to be still and reflect. The Grenfell Memorial Community Mosaic is a legacy project, created for the community, by the community and with the community.”
Emily Fuller and Tomomi Yoshida, Grenfell Memorial Community Mosaic artists said:
“It’s been such a privilege to be part of the Grenfell Memorial Mosaic journey and to work with this wonderful community. So many mosaic pieces and so many hands coming together to create this tribute to all those who died and were affected by the fire. We celebrate the diverse languages that were spoken in the tower but will never forget the 72 who died. We are still on that path to justice.”
Grenfell Memorial Community Mosaic: Walking as One
A permanent public artwork comprising 39 mosaics co-created by the Grenfell community with artists Emily Fuller and Tomomi Yoshida marking the route of the Silent Walk to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire. An ACAVA-led collaboration with Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre and community partners, created by artists Emily Fuller and Tomomi Yoshida with local Grenfell residents.
Start point: Notting Hill Methodist Church, Lancaster Road, W10. Nearest tube: Ladbroke Grove and Latimer Road.
Piece Together: Documenting Grenfell Memorial Community Mosaic
Documentary photography exhibition by ACAVA Shoots photographers charting the creation of the Grenfell Memorial Community Mosaic public artworks by local people affected by the Grenfell Tower fire. An ACAVA-led project in collaboration with Zute Lightfoot.
- 10 June – 30 June (Open Wed-Sat 11am – 4pm), ACAVA Maxilla Walk Studios. 4 Maxilla Walk, London, W10 6NQ. Nearest tube: Latimer Road. Free entry.
- 8-10 July (Fri & Sat 10am-6pm / Sun 11am-6pm), The Photographers’ Gallery. 16-18 Ramilies Street, London, W1F 7LW. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus. Free entry.