Confusion as trendy Hackney café paints over peace mural

The Peace Wall.

The Peace Wall. - Credit: Archant

A trendy café which has painted over a peace mural is going to work on restoring it with the community art group which created it to commemorate the London riots.

The Peace Wall. Photo Emma Bartholomew

The Peace Wall. Photo Emma Bartholomew - Credit: Archant

CITYarts painted the wall underneath a railway arch in Acton Mews, Haggerston, during the 2012 Olympics to mark the first anniversary of the riots which broke out in September 2011.

The New York-based group worked with young people aged 12 to 20 to make the artwork on wall owned by London Overground.

It depicted scenes of doves and rainbows.

But the mural was not maintained and as it was covered over with moss and graffiti, the owner of TripSpace café, whose garden borders the mural, decided to give the wall a fresh coat of paint.

Tsipi Ben-Haim, CITYarts’ creative director who travelled from New York to work on the wall, said: “It is quite shocking that a business took it upon themselves to destroy CITYarts’ Peace Wall mural that so many kids from the neighborhood and schools in London created.

“I strongly believe that when kids create, they do not destroy – CITYarts’ Peace Walls give youth a sense of ownership and pride.

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“At the ribbon cutting ceremony, the city officials and the Overground staff were all there to stand by us to keep this mural forever and ever.”

Peter Fiala, the owner of TripSpace, said there had been confusion over who was responsible for the wall’s maintenance.

“There was nothing vindictive or malicious on our side, this comes down to a misunderstanding,” he insisted.

“If you walked by a few months ago you could see what a terrible state it was in, and we felt it was our responsibility to sort it out.”

He said CITYarts had a responsibility to maintain it and remove graffiti which they had never done.

“We are very much a community based organisation promoting a holistic lifestyle with yoga, it’s not in our mission to be corporate in that way – we would like to see a community mural back there, but one that’s well maintained.

“As we all know, if murals are not maintained they lose their original message. It could be very exciting to create a new mural for Haggerston, but one that is an asset to the community rather than a tag wall.”

The two parties have had several meetings and hope to reinstate the mural by the end of the summer.