New wave of public art not about celebrating “great men or women”, says Hackney mayor

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  • November 5, 2020
  • Comments Off on New wave of public art not about celebrating “great men or women”, says Hackney mayor


ackney’s new wave of public art will not “celebrate the great men and women of history”, according to the borough’s mayor.

Philip Glanville said the recent controversy over the destruction of the statue of slave trader Ed-ward Colston in Bristol showed the importance of making work that reflects the borough.

Plans are currently been drawn up to select up and coming artists to submit ideas for new work which will be paid for by a six figure windfall from street artist Stik.

He sold an original maquette of his work Holding Hands, which stands in Shoreditch, for £287,500 at last week and gave the money to the council.

The auction house had expected it to fetch around £120,000 and the secretive street artist said he wanted the unexpected windfall “to facilitate a new-wave of public sculpture in East London, celebrating the diverse communities who live here”.

Mr Glanville, who was elected mayor of the borough in 2016, said the council was “deeply grateful” for the money and was still working out how it would be spent.

He said: “Whether it is 10 pieces or five or three and some broader development work I think that is still to be decided but the main thing is Hackney is really ambitious for the culture of the borough and seeing today’s stories represented in the public realm.

“I suppose the Colston statue debate shows the importance of really grounding art in the locality so this isn’t about choosing different great men or women from history and seeing them represented, this is about real locally produced work telling local stories through sculpture .”

The first works are expected to be in place next year.