Hackney-loving students tackling negative preconceptions with artwork

Team Breakthrough

Team Breakthrough

Impassioned sixth-formers have created a visual love-letter to Hackney after becoming fed-up with people’s preconceptions about the borough.

The team's interactive graffiti piece

The team's interactive graffiti piece

Team Breakthrough, a group of students from Clapton Girls’ Academy, held an exhibition to showcase the “beautiful and positive elements” about their borough at The Hive in Kingsland Road last weekend.

More than 50 people viewed photos and artwork contributed by Hackney-ites, short films about the borough and its spaces and invited to add to a graffiti piece called What is Hackney to you?.

“I wanted to do this simply because I know people from outside Hackney, and their views can be quite negative about our community,” said 18-year-old Josephine Okunbolade. “Some are even too scared to visit based on things they have heard, so I wanted to participate to educate people and show that Hackney is beautiful. This is why our hashtag is #DontTurnABlindEye”.

The team are currently taking part in the Community Apprentice schools competition run by charity Envision, where they have been challenged to a tackle a local issue through social action.


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They have created a film, which won Envision’s city-wide film contest at a dragons den-style event, securing funding for their project. They are now hoping to make it to the regional finals at City Hall in June, where the winner will be chosen by Jenette Arnold, chair of the London Assembly.

Cemile Ozdemir, another member of the team said: “I feel like the history of Hackney has affected people’s views, even those who have never been to the area. People need to see the real Hackney and embrace how it really is today!”

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They are hoping to find a community space to display their interactive art piece on Hackney – if you know of anywhere that would be open to this, the team can be contacted on Twitter @breakthrough_hk.

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