The owners of Edmonton Green shopping centre approached me to do an artpiece that could be displayed in their shopping centre. They’re a very community based business and wanted a piece that would reflect the area and the people that live in it.
The theme for this piece is community and inclusivity (circles all the way). About family and friendship. How we can all give a helping hand and look out for each other. In times of mental health issues, we need to talk more and be inquisitive. Ask questions. Is your neighbour doing okay? How we should always be kind. I ask the phrase, ‘can you be someone’s rainbow today?’, regularly on social media and wanted to include particular quotes on the art piece which I feel that people could relate to. The African proverb ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ is the main inspiration for this illustration and there’s a story behind it…
It Takes a Village to Raise a Child
Back in October 2020 whilst on one of my walks around the local Park, I saw a petite Asian girl (possibly around yr7) in school uniform walking through on her way home from school. It was a bright day around 3.20pm. I had seen her once before but this time I felt the need to speak to her. I stopped a few feet away as I didn’t want to scare her, and told her that she shouldn’t really be walking through the park. The path that the young girl was on can’t be easily seen unless you’re actually on it. It’s a very quiet path and not used by many. I mentioned that my son also goes to the same school that the girl does, how he’s not allowed to walk through the park even though it would be quicker, how my older son once got mugged there and that it’s just not worth the increased danger to save 5-10 minutes. Another lady saw me speaking to the girl and asked if I was talking about stranger danger. And then brought up the assault that happened there eight years ago. Not wanting to scare the bejesus out of this girl this wasn’t elaborated on. Instead I encouraged her to speak to her parents about an alternative route and I wished her well. A few weeks later, I saw the same girl get off the bus. She wasn’t going through the park!
Non skin tones
I enjoy using colours which aren’t normal skin-based ones. Coming from a Caribbean background, representation definitely matters to me and I feel that it’s important for children (and adults) to see people in the arts that represent them. I draw natural skin-tone based illustrations and occasionally likes to push the boat out with a huge pop of colour.
Where can you see the mural?
You can view the mural at the main entrance to Edmonton Green Shopping Centre on Hertford Road, London, N9. Read more about the mural.