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Town Hall Square sculpture will be revealed on Windrush Day as Hackney’s festival gets underway online

PUBLISHED: 16:45 19 June 2020 | UPDATED: 16:51 19 June 2020

Hackney's Windrush Caribbean tea party in 2019. Picture: Adam Holt/ Hackney Council

Hackney's Windrush Caribbean tea party in 2019. Picture: Adam Holt/ Hackney Council

Adam Holt

Hackney Council is set to reveal the winner of a major new artwork which will be be commissioned for the Town Hall Square on Monday, in the highlight of its annual Windrush festival.

Hackney's Windrush Caribbean tea party in 2019. Picture: Adam Holt/ Hackney Council Hackney's Windrush Caribbean tea party in 2019. Picture: Adam Holt/ Hackney Council

The announcement follows a consultation process which began two years ago, and which will see Hackney become the first UK borough to present a permanent, public sculpture honouring the Windrush generation who were invited from Commonwealth countries to rebuild Britain after World War Two.

A spokesperson for the council said the new artwork will “symbolise gratitude and honour to their contribution to Hackney, and represent the council’s ongoing commitment to welcoming migrants”.

Windrush Day on June 22 honours the contribution of the Windrush generation, their families and descendants, and remembers the arrival of the Motor Vessel Empire Windrush at the Port of Tilbury on June 22 1948.

Ahead of the announcement and in light of the coronavirus pandemic, residents can get involved in a virtual version of the council’s annual Windrush Generations Festival, which is available online on its website LoveHackney.uk and its Black History Facebook page.

Hackney's Windrush Caribbean tea party in 2019. Picture: Adam Holt/ Hackney CouncilHackney's Windrush Caribbean tea party in 2019. Picture: Adam Holt/ Hackney Council

Other highlights of the festival include songs written and recorded by first-generation Windrush residents with the support of Americana Music Association UK and a live music stream from Global Carnivalz on Monday.

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People of all ages are being invited to submit literary recollections of their migration for a storytelling project, We Are Windrush, along with stories about identity from the younger generation.

The stories will be shared on an online event on June 29 hosted by award-winning poet Raymond Antrobus, Hackney Empire’s Alter Ego spoken word finalist Phoenix, and Colin Grant, the historian and author of Homecoming: Voices of the Windrush Generation.

Audio recordings of Hackney Museum and Hackney Archive catalogue interviews with Caribbean migrants who worked for the NHS and TfL are also being shared online, with recipes from Hackney’s Traditional Caribbean Baking Recipes Cookbook.

The online festival will also highlight how those affected by the Windrush scandal can apply for compensation.

The council’s Windrush and employment chief, Cllr Carole Williams, said: “Acknowledging black history as part of our country’s DNA is vital to building respect and dismantling racism.

“Honouring the contributions of the Windrush community has never felt more important as we witness a global call for racial equality and see the UK demand compensation for the victims of the Windrush scandal.

“As we reevaluate the names of our public spaces and statues, I’m encouraged that Hackney will soon be home to a public artwork inspired by the Windrush generation that better reflects Hackney’s heritage and will provide an important, accessible place of reflection for the whole of our community.”

Access the festival at lovehackney.uk/windrush-generations-festival, or facebook.com/HackneyBlackHistory.


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