Grenfell community united by art

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Originally created for Grenfell’s first anniversary, the Grenfell Memorial Community Mosaic is an ever-evolving installation located along the route of the Quiet Walk and at the base of the Grenfell Tower. So far composed of three phases, the project has been running since May 2018, initiated by ACAVA (a non-profit arts organization in London) and the Al Manaar Muslim Culurual and Heratige center.

Along with Emily Fuller, Tomomi Yoshida oversees the mosaics. She sees it as “the local community that gives back”. According to her, when the tragedy struck, there was an outpouring of aid and generosity, but it was “not targeted. […] People weren’t sure exactly how to help. Al Manaar asked ACAVA to help create something beautiful to mark the first anniversary of the fire, and the mosaic became the community’s way to incorporate at least a little beauty into the sadness. Art is “almost like therapy” and brings the community together from the moment they needed it most.

In the first phase, twelve mosaic petals were created – each mosaic petal created by a different community in open sessions that all community members could attend. The mosaic petals were represented by twelve green hearts, each interlocking, symbolizing “the interconnectedness of the North Kensington community”. Each petal was created with a word chosen by the community, including the following; “Love” (by Latymer Community Church), “hope” (LCAT and Henry Dickens Community Center), “unity” (LCAT and Henry Dickens Community Center).

The second phase consisted of mosaic sheets that were inspired by the foliage near the Grenfell Tower. These were created by local groups, especially schools in the area, with over 400 volunteers helping the project. They were installed in June 2021 at the base of the Grenfell Tower.

The third phase was slightly different from the previous two. The third phase saw the creation of 34 mosaic stepping stones; there were 34 languages ​​spoken in the tower, and each stepping stone carries the righteousness inscribed in a different language. Each stepping stone contains 72 gold coins to commemorate the lost lives, and these will be located at the start of the Grenfell Silent Walk route.

Due to uncertainty in the region as to what will happen to the tower and the potential change to the Grenfell Silent Walk route, the next phase and future of the Grenfell Memorial Community Mosaic remains uncertain, but their touching tributes to the lives lost brought the community together in a unique way that could only have been achieved through art.


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