Two bold new sculptures have just been unveiled outside Hackney Town Hall. They’re the work of young British artist Thomas J Price, and are stark, beautiful tributes to the Windrush Generation. Opened on June 22, Windrush Day, the two nine-foot high bronze sculptures were created by scanning 30 multigenerational local Black residents, creating composite figures that act as representations of the history of the area, and the enduring impact of the Windrush Generation on Hackney, London and the UK in general.
Unlike most public sculptures Price’s work isn't a glorification of someone famous or notable, but a celebration of the ordinary people who came to the UK 74 years ago and profoundly changed this country. The work, called ‘Warm Shores’, also isn’t displayed on a pedestal, a very deliberate move: ‘It is important that my figures are not placed on plinths,’ says Price, ‘to disrupt a sense of hierarchy that surrounds many public monuments. They exist amongst the public and daily life and are an extension of the people who inhabit these spaces. It was very important to me to continue this approach with the Hackney Windrush Commission, which is why the two figures have been positioned in the square directly outside Hackney Town Hall.’
Price’s combination of conceptual intent, clever technological wizardry and unapologetically confrontational aesthetics make this work some of the best public art London has seen for a very long time. Go see it, but no need to rush, thankfully it’s permanent.
‘Warm Shores’ is outside Hackney Town Hall, E8.
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