Mural unveiled in Bethnal Green to welcome public back

The new 40ft mural at Bethnal Green's Rich Mix arts centre

The new 40ft mural at Bethnal Green's Rich Mix arts centre - Credit: Paint for Change

A giant 40ft mural has been unveiled in Bethnal Green as a public celebration after 18 months of lockdowns. 

It takes up all four storeys of the Rich Mix arts centre facing onto Bethnal Green Road. 

The artwork was finally revealed on September 23 after weeks of work by the Paint for Change “street arts for social justice” campaigners.  

“Creating this design with stories was a challenge,” mural artist Atma said. “It gives a voice to so many individuals and communities, mirroring the high spirit of east London.” 

How artists steeplejack up the side of the arts centre creating the mural, as they did in 2020

How artists steeplejack up the side of the arts centre to create the mural, as they did in 2020 - Credit: Paint for Change

The arts centre has splashed out with Paint the Change, which has been busy with its steeplejack painting on the front of the building for the second time in 12 months.

Individual submissions from the public have been incorporated into one large-scale artwork, like the project a year ago at the height of the pandemic, but this time welcoming the public back as Covid restrictions ease.

People were asked to submit self-portraits, photos, artwork or descriptions of objects that embody how they perceive themselves. This could be done online and in-person at workshops run by Rich Mix.

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Portraits that had been taken by Nigel Glasgow at a community festival in nearby Redchurch Street in July were also used.

Paint the Change founder Maziar Bahari said: “The faces and objects in this mural reflect the reality of London today that welcomes people from around the world who enrich it with their creativity.” 

More than 100 images have been used, including the Hand of Fatima, playing cards, teapots, bagels, placards and selfies.

Rich Mix chief executive Judith Kilvington said: “Our founding mission is to celebrate London’s cosmopolitan richness and its role as a world city. It’s wonderful to see this writ large in our new mural as we welcome back the communities of the East End.”  

Tribute mural to the NHS in 2020 at Rich Mix 

Tribute mural to the NHS in 2020 at Rich Mix - Credit: Paint for Change

The mural is the second project Rich Mix has worked on with Paint the Change following last year’s huge tribute to the NHS at the height of the Covid crisis to mark the diversity of health service frontline workers.

That mural featured 220 flowers drawn by members of the public and was made up of 136 vinyl adhesives applied to the building’s moveable aluminium louvres.