Brick Lane Mural

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This consultation is now closed — thank you for your interest.


Brick Lane Regeneration programme - mural to celebrate 50th anniversary of Bangladesh independence

The council’s High Streets team are currently managing delivery of the Brick Lane Regeneration programme, which includes artwork on council-owned buildings as part of improvement plans.

In early 2021, the High Streets team began work with the Arts, Parks & Events team to commission a public artwork to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh independence.

The site for the artwork is a prominent ‘blank canvas’ wall at 14 Brick Lane next to Hopetown

This consultation is now closed — thank you for your interest.


Brick Lane Regeneration programme - mural to celebrate 50th anniversary of Bangladesh independence

The council’s High Streets team are currently managing delivery of the Brick Lane Regeneration programme, which includes artwork on council-owned buildings as part of improvement plans.

In early 2021, the High Streets team began work with the Arts, Parks & Events team to commission a public artwork to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh independence.

The site for the artwork is a prominent ‘blank canvas’ wall at 14 Brick Lane next to Hopetown Street, where there is a block of flats 1-18 managed by Tower Hamlets Homes. There are plans to improve the two entrances to this block by the Chicksands Estate, including the entrance below the flank wall that will host the artwork.

Next to the building hosting the artwork is the Banglatown Arch on Brick Lane, which was designed by Mina Thakur, and is known at the gateway to "Banglatown" with its cluster of curry houses. The arch is being refurbished to its former glory by March 2022 as part of the Brick Lane Regeneration programme. On the other side of the building by Hopetown Street is a foxglove tree, which will have downlights installed as part of architectural lighting plans for Brick Lane.

Have your say on the three proposals by noon Monday 9 August by voting in the survey

Three artists were invited to submit a concept design for the artwork in honour of the 50th Anniversary of the Independence of Bangladesh. Each artist has submitted their proposal and we are delighted to share them with you.

Aspirations

Whilst the overarching theme for this artwork is the 50th Anniversary of the Independence of Bangladesh, we are keen for artists to draw inspiration from the area’s rich history, diverse communities making this place their home and the range of commerce and trade that form part of local heritage.

We believe the artwork has the potential to strengthen the distinctive character and identity of the borough. The final artwork will be intriguing, memorable, sensitive to the local environment and context, and will add to the narrative of the area.

The three artists who submitted proposals are - Mohammed Ali, Karimah Hassan and Abu Jafar, who all know Tower Hamlets and are well-known artists.

All three artists have proposals to host workshops or events with local residents and the community to help inspire their design before the final artwork is installed in autumn 2021.

Proposals

Mohammed Ali

Karimah Hassan

Abu Jafar

How the artist will be selected

The selection of the artist to complete the mural will be informed by your feedback during the consultation, and a review by a Jury panel chaired by Councillor Motin Uz-Zaman with Councillor Sabina Akhtar, a representative from the Whitechapel Gallery, and a local representative.

The artist will be selected in August 2021.

Have your say

We want to hear from you! Have your say on each of the three proposals by noon on Monday 9 August by voting via the survey

If you would like to be involved in workshops with the selected artist in August/September 2021, please email towncentres@towerhamlets.gov.uk to register your interest.

Brick Lane Regeneration Programme Context

The Brick Lane area is one of Tower Hamlets’ most historic neighbourhoods and Banglatown is a symbol of the East End’s diversity and dynamism.

In 2017 the High Streets team began developing the Brick Lane Regeneration programme and secured funding for much-needed investment to make Brick Lane a more attractive and enjoyable place to live, work, and visit.

During 2018-20 the team spoke to residents, businesses, visitors, councillors, and landowners to develop feasibility studies led by architects, artists and lighting designers.

The improvement proposals were consulted on from October 2020 to December 2020 and include plans to:

  • Improve signage and wayfinding, including renaming Osborn Street to Lower Brick Lane, to help promote footfall in the southern section of Brick Lane and links to Whitechapel

  • Create a welcoming and visually appealing streetscape, particularly in the ‘central area’ between Wentworth Street and Fashion Street

  • To help improve air quality by adding urban greening and places to rest for visitors.

  • Improvements to pavements to make walking and cycling safer

  • To enhance the identity of the area, drawing on the connection with textiles as well as its diverse local communities

  • Highlight Brick Lane’s historic buildings using architectural lighting

  • Refurbishing the Banglatown arch to bring it back to its former glory

  • Mohammed Ali

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    The Traveller

    There is an invisible veil that fails across vast swathes of society. A veil that separate us. We don't ever get to engage with those people who makes our cities turn.


    During the Covid-era, society has been able to reflect on itself unlike never before.  We have questioned the value of things and people that we took for granted. These include supermarket workers, delivery drivers, taxi drivers and restaurant workers.


    In a polarised society, reflections of our community through street-art can be liberating.   Such art breaks that veil as we subvert our visual landscape with the unexpected.

    ‘The Traveller’ street-art proposal depicts a ‘boatman’ of Bangladesh. He ferries people across the rivers of Sylhet every day and is vital for people’s movement.   It is an icon recognisable by much of the British Bangladeshi community.  Many British Bangladeshis have been ferried by such people.  Many of them have also come from humble beginnings.

    For the 50th anniversary of the nation of Bangladesh, this mural aims to evoke a sense of both longing and pride. For London’s Bangladeshi community to see such an image in the heart of 'Banglatown’ will restore hope. This permanent and authentic piece of art will speak to the community even as Brick Lane changes.

    It is unusual and subversive. It makes ‘invisible’ people visible. It stamps them onto the London skyline for all to see.

    The image of the boatman and the rivers of Bangladesh resonates with one community. It also has parallels with London, a city that thrives on the water’s edge.  The city has welcomed migrants from all over the world who travelled to the city and made it a place to call home. 

    The Traveller in context



    About Mohammed Ali:


    Mohammed Ali MBE is an award-winning street-artist, curator and a trustee of Birmingham Museums. He has been commissioned to work internationally with leading galleries, festivals, arts centres and theatres to produce large scale murals in open spaces in the communities where people work, live and play.

    Mohammed is the founder of Soul City Arts, a leading independent arts organisation based in Birmingham that has worked with artists, academics and activists from around the world to present innovative exhibitions, performances and digital installations. He has worked extensively around the globe in places like Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne, New York and South Africa.


    Mohammed Ali Aerosol (@aliaerosol) • Instagram photos and videos

    www.soulcityarts.com

  • Karimah Hassan

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    Life in Patterns option 01

    What are the cultural patterns that thread the history of Brick Lane together? Patterns are an abstract symbol of our heritage. The colours, texture and imagery of the patterns on our clothes and furniture point to our cultural identity. This is even true of the patterns on food labelling in our kitchen cupboards. It is with this honouring of pattern in mind, that I have created a bright mural proposal for Brick Lane and mark the 50th anniversary of the independence of Bangladesh.


    The story of Brick Lane is bound up with fabric- it includes the heritage of Spitalfields silk weaving, and traditional Jewish tailors, with contemporary vintage shops and high-end designers. The pattern collecting process will be interactive. I will do a call-out to residents of Brick Lane as well as small businesses, both in the street and online. This will ask participants to send in a variety of patterns from their daily lives, from this I will create a colouring book of Brick Lane patterns. The book will be free, online and available for local schools.


    Life in Patterns option 02

    This design uses patterns taken from fabrics, vintage badges, and food packaging, I found all these on Brick Lane. I used the motifs on packaging to make the outlines. The patterns and colours reflect the Bangladeshi flag and desi aesthetic. I chose this theme because it is vibrant and it is broad enough to include a wide audience, yet bold enough to mirror the rich culture of Bangladesh.


    reference images

    About Karimah Hassan:

    Karimah is a multidisciplinary artist from London with roots in Wales, Yemen and Bangladesh. Her work revolves around community-driven storytelling, locations and cultural diversity. Hassan’s practice involves hosting ‘community show- case teasers’ under the disguise of an exhibition. In a curated line up, Karimah exhibits her painting alongside poetry readings, open-mic, live jazz and even football matches. After graduating with a MA in Architecture from the Royal College of Art and from the Mural Career Development programme (Toronto), Karimah went on to work with major clients including : The Barbican, Ted Baker, Arts Council England, The Highline New York, Toronto Council, FCUK and Crxss Platfxrms. Karimah is an artist in residence at Alexander McQueen’s Sarabande Foundation, working with Burberry and a recent solo show ‘Strangers Yearbook’ – a real time Insta-gallery featuring portraits of strangers and their various emotional states experienced during lockdown.

    Karimah Hassan (@karimah.hassan) • Instagram photos and videos

    www.karimahhassan.com



  • Abu Jafar

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    ‘Hope@ On My Way’ 'Hope@ On My Way’ frames the simplicity of its colour scheme with its painstaking inner message. It took more than nineteen years to paint. The painting is an internal log, each stroke a coloured entry into the artist’s diary. It reflects his own encounters and achievements. It also mirrors those of every immigrant who has landed on foreign shores.


    Emerald green bathes the bottom half of the painting . The top is like a rosy sunset, in shades of orange and red with streaks of yellow. This bright haze rises like an abstract column of hope. It pushes the mauve, purple and blue skies apart and even echoes the lighter shade of green below. The deep green at the bottom partners with the gauzy purple haze at the top. The central red-tinged section adds lightness to the lower half but remains the main focus of the world we gaze upon.

    There are few symbols to make the story easy to decipher. Yet one cannot miss the three taut lines across the width of the painting. These stretch and bind the body of the work. They have the spiked and ragged metal edge of barbed wire. This lends an edge of pain to an otherwise compassionate and tender vision. It is a warning to avoid delusion. While our desires can be visible, one may need to overcome many barriers in our journey to the promised land.

    Light streaks of blue fall from the top. These may be cosmic scratches of water, an almost invisible English rain, or the end of a Bangladeshi one. It evokes scenes glimpsed through a passing window. This subtle barrier makes us spectators more than actors. This mural will reflect many issues. These include the history of Brick Lane. It has been a melting pot of immigrant experiences and their struggle. This is particularly true of the Bangladeshi community. Millions of people have arrived in the United Kingdom, dreaming of a new life!

    50 years of Bangladesh is a story of success. We celebrate Brick Lane and this story of success in 'Hope@ On My Way’.


    About Abu Jafar:

    Abu Jafar (Visual Artist / Sculptor) is an acclaimed leading British international artist and philosopher of the arts. He is living and working in the United Kingdom.


    Born on March 21, 1968 in a small village called Jhilna, Patuakhali, Bangladesh.


    He studied Philosophy of Arts at the Open University 1997, Art and Art History at Goldsmiths College University of London in 1991/92, Master Drawing of the Human Figure - Guildhall University London in 1989/90 and Fine Arts, Painting and Drawing at the Institute of Fine Arts University of Dhaka Bangladesh 1984/89.


    In 2021 he become a member of the Visual Artist Association, in 2011 he become a Fellow of Digswell Arts Trust. In 2008 he become a member of the Sculpture Network and in 2007 an Associates Member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors.


    Abu Jafar (@_abujafar) • Instagram photos and videos

    www.abujafar.com



  • Area-wide improvements

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    Architectural Lighting

    We want to make the area feel safer at night and illuminate key landmarks in the area to improve wayfinding. Architectural lighting can be used on historic buildings and railway bridges that cross Brick Lane. Key locations include the Overground bridge, Brick Lane Mosque and Christ Church Primary School. We will also floodlight some mature trees and artworks on gable walls.

    Totems + Legible London

    We will be refurbishing the existing stainless steel totems with upgraded lighting and clear glass front panels to make them less vulnerable to graffiti and stickers. We will also be installing 6 Legible London totems at key entry and junction points along Brick Lane.

    Colourful crossings

    We would like to install artist-designed crossings based on the area’s weaving and textile traditions at key crossing points. This will give greater priority to pedestrians and help create strong visual connections at key junctions. We have been working closely with Tower Hamlets’ Liveable Streets team to make sure the Brick Lane improvements fit within the Council’s wider objectives of encouraging safer sustainable transport.

    Parklets

    At key locations along Brick Lane we would like to install planters and specifically designed seating that discourages antisocial behaviour. The planters need to be lifted above the pavement as the ground beneath is heavily constrained by cables and pipe routes. These planters will be large enough to contain mid-size trees with tall stems, ather than low-level shrubs which could encourage drug and weapon concealment. They will be located in place of existing short-term parking bays.

  • Overground Bridge and Allen Gardens link

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    Overground Bridge Lighting

    The Overground bridge crossing is quite gloomy at night and we would like to illuminate it using projectors to throw light on its underside. This will create a pattern of lighting ‘threads’ running across the street to reflect the area’s long association with the textile industry, but the lenses of these projectors are adaptable and could also be used to celebrate specific events or changing themes over time.

    Allen Gardens / Pedley St Link

    We have been working with an artist and designer to develop new colourful pavement graphics that are based on the area’s long-standing weaving tradition. We will also be tidying up the scruffy planting and installing a more attractive fence along the railway edge and upgrading lighting to make this link to the Gardens feel more obvious, uplifting and safe.

  • Area around Fashion Street, Chicksand Street and Hopetown Street

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    The central area of Brick Lane around the Health Centre, Flower and Dean Estate and Chicksand Estate is particularly important to us. There are fewer historic buildings in this section and the change in architectural character ‘interrupts’ the good quality historic street frontages of the north and south ends of the street. We are planning a range of townscape enhancements to make this section of Brick Lane more welcoming and uplifting.

    Frontage upgrades

    We would like to carry out some redecoration of the Flower and Dean frontage to make this more colourful and break-up the long white balcony railings and dark brickwork. We would also like to encourage Estate residents to plant hanging baskets to brighten-up this facade. We think this, combined with parklets this could transform this part of the street into a ‘green pocket’ which is more welcoming and healthier for both residents and visitors.

    Gable ends and entrances

    The blank, dark brick gable walls on the corners of Chicksand and Hopetown Street, along with the unsightly security gates and screens convey a negative view of the area. We have been working with an artist to develop murals based on traditional Bangladeshi dress and the Mela festival to design large murals for these walls. These, along with new security gates, railings and more thoughtful lighting would be much more attractive while still providing adequate security.

  • Banglatown Arch, Osborn Street and Middlesex Street Art Trail

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    Middlesex Street Art Trail

    An Art Trail is being developed that will extend from Bishopsgate and Middlesex Street to Wentworth Street and Brick Lane to draw people in from the City. This will identify key local artworks and important historical and cultural locations such as the Petticoat Lane markets. Some elements of the Brick Lane enhancement project will become elements in the Art Trail.

    Renaming of Osborn St

    Through discussion with local people, the Council would like to re-name Osborn Street as Lower Brick Lane and we would welcome your views on this. This will help visitors navigate through the area as most people think of this short stretch of street as Brick Lane already. This will help strengthen Brick Lane’s connection to Whitechapel High Street and be much clearer for visitors on area maps.

    The Arch

    The existing arch is in poor structural condition and is in need of redecoration. One option would be to repair and redecorate the existing structure and reinstate lighting that no longer works.

Page last updated: 25 August 2021, 10:00