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Young artists unveil their vision of East London community

Ten aspiring artists have worked with a professional artist to create their vision of East London which is about to be unveiled for the first time in their community.

From Press releases - 9 December 2013 12:00 AM

Ten aspiring artists have worked with a professional artist to create their vision of East London which is about to be unveiled for the first time in their community.

The youngsters have shown how proud they are of their neighbourhood in an arts project giving a unique insight into the history, heritage and culture of their area.

Inspired by their local community, the children have depicted images of:
• Ports and docks – many immigrants working in the ports settled in the East End
• Bridges – vital in London to cross the River Thames, which divides the city
• Textiles - the East End became a centre of weaving from the 17th Century
• Buildings old and new – such as St Paul’s Cathedral
• Entertainment – from the 1840s the music hall craze swept the East End
• A winding lane through fields depicting Whitechapel before it was developed
• Environment – making the neighbourhood greener for future generations

Many of the children will be there to see their 6ft tall designs unveiled on December 18, taking pride of place in the local street scene. The artwork will leave a permanent legacy, showing East London through the imaginative eyes of the children who will shape the area’s future.

The children’s designs were turned into giant mosaics by a team of artists in Exeter who painstakingly set thousands of tiles into place to create permanent works of art.

The young artists’ unusual canvas has been the brick façade of an electricity substation in Osborn Street, Whitechapel, at the entrance to Brick Lane. The project is part of UK Power Networks’ £40million investment to redevelop its existing electricity substation in the neighbourhood.

Nirmal Kotecha, director of capital programme and procurement at UK Power Networks, said: “The artwork showcases the rich history and diversity of the East End from a child’s perspective. We hope the community will enjoy this vibrant addition to the street scene for years to come. This project has given us a chance to work closely with schoolchildren in this local community and we can’t wait to see the looks on the children’s faces when their designs are finally unveiled.”

The East London schoolchildren who created the artworks were from St Paul’s Primary School, Osmani Primary School, Shapla Primary School, Blue Gate Fields Junior School and Christ Church Primary School. The children, who were aged between seven and nine when they took part in the competition, are now aged between ten and 12, and some are now at secondary school.

The winners were chosen by a panel of judges in 2010 including the mayor of Tower Hamlets, the East London Advertiser and art experts. The project was supported by arts and music charity, the Concordia Foundation, founded by international soprano Gillian Humphreys.