Homeless workers help to create first ever art installation on Hackney Downs

A POLISH-born artist used her experiences as an illegal immigrant to inspire Hackney Downs’ first ever public art installation created with the help of homeless workers.

Eva Lis, now a graduate of the prestigious Slade School of Fine Art, unveiled her new work Tunnel Vision on Friday (September 10) in the deserted Bowling Green at the centre of the park.

The artist paid five migrant workers living on the streets of east London to build the installation – a labyrinth of polythene-covered tunnels based on the pattern of a finger print.

Other homeless volunteers helped out on the five-day project for free.

Eva said the message of the artwork was personal, poetic and political.

“It goes back to when I worked as an illegal immigrant in polytunnels in Holland, selecting daffodil and tulip bulbs.”

“I wanted to recreate this medicated space where you can hear the individual drops of rain and gusts of wind,” she said.

Most Read

“But it’s not just aesthetic - it’s ethics too.”

Many of her team members experienced the fall of Communism in Poland in 1989, leaving them struggling to find a job.

“It is quite tragic,” said Eva.

“I think the idea of the installation attracted them because they felt like architects and artists – they had a free hand to create avenues and streets, to add their own touches to it.

“I wanted people to think about the choices that they make, and if they really have choices in life at all.”

Andre Jacukowsky, 44, of no fixed address, said: “I came to England seven years ago trying to achieve something and this is the first opportunity that matches my ambitions.”

Visitors can explore inside Tunnel Vision - the first public artwork to be installed in Hackney Downs.

Eva said she chose the park because it was “quite an abandoned place, not over stimulated with activities”.

The installation, presented by the WW Gallery in Queensdown Road, is open daily from 12 noon to 6pm until September 19. Entry is free.

For more information go to www.wilsonwilliamsgallery.com or email wwgallery@gmail.com.