Mon. Aug 8th, 2022

Officials in London today unveiled a permanent public monument celebrating the Windrush generation in Hackney in the East London borough of Hackney.

The sculptures by the artist Veronica Ryan, Custard Apple (Annonaceae), Breadfruit (Moraceae) and
Soursop (Annonaceae) (2021), depicts three Caribbean fruits and vegetables. Authorities believe it is the first permanent monument celebrating the generation of migrant workers that
came to Britain from the Caribbean in the post-war period to help increase its depleted labor market.

The works have been installed at a time when the public has increasingly questioned who is represented and celebrated in our built environment, and in the midst of a growing demand for London monuments to reflect the diversity of its community.

“Cultural visibility and representation in public spaces is crucial. I am very happy that my sculptures will be part of this recognition, ”Ryan said in a statement. “Ridley Market here in Hackney is still a vibrant place with early excitement of shopping with my mom, I do not come to the market often now, but have been so happy to buy some lovely soursops and custard apples on recent visits.”

“I like that the community in Hackney will see some familiar fruits and vegetables represented in the sculptures and always enjoy these connections,” Ryan added.

Veronica Ryan OBE, Custard Apple (Annonaceae) (2021). Greetings artist, Paula Cooper Gallery and Alison Jacques. Photo: Andy Keate, 2021.

The local council commissioned the large marble and bronze sculptures with Create London as part of its black history season, and they are located near the district’s St. Augustine’s Tower and Hackney’s vibrant Ridley Road Market.

The works are part of the council’s broader public program on Windrush, which includes street exhibitions highlighting community stories from the generation and its descendants, named after the HMT Empire Windrush ship, which docked in Essex in 1948 with more than 500 immigrants on board.

“It’s incredibly important that we have public art that everyone can identify with,” said Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville. “Veronica’s play will be in the heart of Hackney and will be seen by thousands every day. I have no doubt that it will be a rallying point and a topic of conversation, and in the process, it will help keep the story of the Windrush generation and their descendants alive for many years to come. ”

Another sculpture celebrating Windrush Generation, by artist Thomas J. Price, is to be unveiled on June 22, 2022 to mark National Windrush Day.

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