Ogilvychange Woolwich project

Work / Art

Ogilvychange address riot-hit area with a baby-faced art project

A year on from the riots and the Olympic jamboree we’ve all been so consumed with has rather overshadowed this uncomfortable anniversary. But if you know where to look there are still communities struggling to come to terms with and move on from the events of 12 months ago. As you’d hope and expect, various artistic endeavours (such as the Peckham Peace Wall) have been launched to try and help make sense of the riots and perhaps one of the most interesting is happening in Woolwich, southeast London.

Based on the broken windows theory – that one visual manifestation of disrepair begets another and so on until whole areas are dragged down – Ogilvychange has launched the Babyface project. On a road hit by the disturbances last August, various shutters have been painted with the portraits of babies from the local area, submitted by friends and family members.

It’s an interesting approach to a common problem, literally reflecting the community’s future back on potential anti-social perpetrators. Early signs seem to be encouraging that it is having an effect, although it remains to be seen whether this is a viable longterm solution for other communities.