Frisbees, skateboards and mobiles feature in Shoreditch mosaic to commemmorate the Olympics

Two mosaics commemorating this summer’s Olympic Games were officially unveiled next to Shoreditch Park last week.

Mosaic artist, Tessa Hunkin came up with the idea for the artwork in Shepherdess Walk, which took over 100 people eight months to complete.

Just as the Roman mosaics, they will leave a record of what life was like in Hackney 2012 for future generations, with mobile phones, frisbees and skateboards embedded in the design.

“The idea was pegged to the Olympics, which comes from the ancient world like mosaic, so it seemed obvious to me that we needed a mosaic,” said Tessa, who has designed mosaics including Westminster Cathedral and Terrance Conran restaurants.

Vulnerable adults were recruited from the Lifeline charity which works with people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, for the project which was funded by the council.

“Mosaic is a slow process and it’s an opportunity for people for whom time is a problem, they get bored and it can lead to temptation,” said Tessa.

“When we started I wasn’t sure what would be possible with people who had never made mosaics before, but the team have surpassed all my expectations.

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“A lot of these people have really good skills but have lost the habit of working with others and applying their skills and having something to concentrate on.”

“Plus it’s a way of getting a mosaic made cheaply because if you are paying commercial rates it’s an expensive business,” she added.

Nicola O’Grady, who has been involved with the project from the outset said it had given her a feeling of “accomplishment and belonging” she hadn’t felt for a long time.

“I feel that I don’t want to use or have the need to use before coming so that I can focus and enjoy using my mind,” she said.

“I also have something to be proud of that I can share with my friends and family.”