Black Panther artist Emory Douglas inspires London riots installation in Hackney Central

Hackney central London riots art project.

The artwork was inspired by Black Panther graphic artist Emory Douglas and civil rights photographer Neil Kenlock. - Credit: © ESB

Young art activists set up a soundscape and film at Hackney Central to mark 10 years since the 2011 London riots.

Filmmaker Johan Shay and Ukranian dancer Olga German worked together on the art installation, called A Scape of Movement – a video piece on the back of a truck – outside the station. 

The project was inspired by online master classes with American artist, and former minister of culture for the Black Panther Party, Emory Douglas, along with the official photographer for the British Black Panther Movement, Neil Kenlock, as part of the international Empire Strikes Back (ESB) programme.

Olga said: "Meeting Emory Douglas in person was powerful. I got to know more about his vision as a revolutionary artist. 

"It was special to collaborate with Johan and see a protest from the perspective of different art forms - sound and movement. We both witnessed different protests, the 2011 England riots and the Euromaidan revolution in Ukraine.

"Finding the points of connection proved that fighting for human rights is something beyond a nationality or background."

In 2011, riots erupted in London and other major UK cities following the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan by police. Euromaidan was a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine in 2013, following the eastern European country suspending an agreement with the European Union.

Hackney Central was one of four London sites where art installation took place – all areas hit hardest by the August 2011 riots.

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Johan added: "I was born into a family of social activist filmmakers and I remember when I was 13 or 14 years old and the London uprisings filtered through to Camden where I lived.

Hackney central London riots art installation.

An art installation was set up outside Hackney Central station marking the 2011 London riots which erupted in the area a decade ago. - Credit: © ESB

I have a clear memory of my three elder sisters, Rosa, Aymara and Robina, keeping me close by as we made our way on foot."

Artist Emory Douglas, who's iconic graphic artwork depicted African American oppression in posters, pamphlets and The Black Panther newspaper, said: "I’m honoured to pass inspiration down to the next generation of art activists.

The artwork was screened on a truck called an AdWagon. 

The artwork was screened on a truck called an AdWagon. - Credit: © ESB

"This incredible project cuts to the heart of the story. A story of inequality, pain, oppression and self-determination, using art to inform, enlighten and educate, to bring change.”