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Thomas J Price and Veronica Ryan commissioned to build Hackney Council’s Windrush public sculptures

PUBLISHED: 15:11 22 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:11 22 June 2020

Veronica Ryan in the Town Hall Square where her Windrush artwork could be displayed next year. Picture: Hackney Council

Veronica Ryan in the Town Hall Square where her Windrush artwork could be displayed next year. Picture: Hackney Council

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Thomas J Price and Veronica Ryan have been commissioned to create the first permanent public sculptures to to honour the Windrush Generation in the UK, which will be unveiled next year.

Thomas J Price in the Town Hall Square where his Windrush artwork could be displayed next year. Picture: Hackney CouncilThomas J Price in the Town Hall Square where his Windrush artwork could be displayed next year. Picture: Hackney Council

Thomas J Price will create a large-scale bronze sculpture outside the Town Hall using photo archives, observations and digital 3D scans of Hackney residents.

Meanwile Veronica Ryan will create a series of large marble and bronze sculptures representing Caribbean fruit and vegetables, and its location has not yet been announced.

The Windrush generation were invited from Commonwealth countries to rebuild Britain after World War Two, and Windrush Day on June 22 marks the arrival of the Motor Vessel Empire Windrush at the Port of Tilbury on June 22 1948.

The two artists were chosen by a panel which included Hackney residents, Windrush campaigners, artists, architects and local councillors including Cllr Carole Williams - Hackney’s Windrush lead.

The Mayor of Hackney, Phillip Glanville said: “Since 2018 we have been in conversations with cultural experts and our local community about the commission and the significance it brings to not only our borough but the story of Black History in the UK.

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“While our commitment to this work has long predated the current debate about better and more diverse representation in the public sphere we’re proud, as we undergo our review of landmarks and naming of public spaces, to be able to make this announcement on Windrush Day 2020.

“It is a clear example of our ongoing efforts to reflect on and celebrate our migrant history, recognising it and Black History as an essential and valued part of Hackney and who we are as a borough.”

Thomas J Price said he was honoured to be able to celebrate the legacy of Windrush, especially since his Jamaican grandmother came over as a nurse.

“I am very excited to work with the people of Hackney on this project, and it’s my hope that this piece will challenge social perceptions and receive engagement from audiences that are often left out of traditional gallery environments,” he added.

Veronica Ryan said: “I have memories of going to Ridley Road Market with my mother as a child to buy fruit and vegetables, fabrics, and sewing materials. Little did I know, those early experiences would become essential material for my practice as an artist.

“I remember as a toddler during the 1950s the difficulties my young hopeful parents from Montserrat dealt with, navigating a new country and often inhospitable circumstances.

“The chance to work on this commission is really brilliant and exciting. l look forward to realising this timely project during this pivotal moment for transformation, positive representations of cultural diversity, and tangible visibility in public sculpture. It is wonderful that Hackney is taking this initiative.”


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