Fruit Sculptures in Hackney Honor the Windrush Generation | Windrush scandal
The first permanent artwork honoring the Windrush generation in the UK has been unveiled in the east London borough of Hackney, as councils across the country kick off the first day of Black History Month.
The artwork, created by artist Veronica Ryan, is one of two permanent sculptures that symbolize the council’s respect and commitment to the Windrush generation and their heritage and contribution to the region. The second, by Thomas J Price, will be unveiled next spring.
Ryan’s three Caribbean fruit sculptures – Custard Apple (Annonaceae), Breadfruit (Moraceae) and Corosop (Annonaceae) – in bronze and marble were installed in Narrow Way Square on Mare Street on Friday morning.
“I was invited to work on Windrush because it’s so complex,” Ryan said. “I grew up in the 1950s. My parents moved between London and Watford. I remember some of the complexities my parents had in the 1950s. I remembered my mother and some of her friends discovering the Ridley Road market, and my mother bought fabrics and yarns. I remembered some fruits and vegetables.
The use of fruits is linked to the narrative of migration and movement, she added. She hopes the artwork will foster a sense of belonging within the local community and provide a vital public space to celebrate their cultural heritage.
“I hope that the community will recognize itself through my choices. Through breadfruit, soursop, an apple with cream, that the community will say: “Oh my God, oh I know them. These are things that we have grown on the trees back home, ”she said.
Carole Williams, senior member of the board’s response to the Windrush scandal, described the permanent artwork as “another step on the road to accomplishing the work we pledged to do as a board when we adopted Windrush’s Global Motion in 2018, which was the first of its kind in the country ”.
The motion has two parts: political work that calls for an end to hostile environment policies, questioning the impact it continues to have on the Windrush generation and their descendants; and celebrate and honor the community.
The placement of the sculptures follows the removal and renaming of public statues and street names dedicated to slave traders, colonialists and racists across the UK. In Hackney, the council removed the Cassland Road Gardens road sign – named after slave trader John Cass – and renamed it Kit Crowley Gardens, after a “pillar of the community” who spent six decades in support its neighbors.
Williams said, “You can’t have one without the other. You must question past practices while making a conscious choice and a conscious decision to honor, celebrate, and commemorate those who have made a positive contribution to life in Hackney.
She insisted that the consultations and the name change were “a real opportunity to tell the lost story of Sir John Cass’ story” and added: an important part of our story. By remembering this, we also pledge not to repeat this story as well. “