A mural portraying Windrush activist Paulette Wilson and railway worker Belly Mujinga will be painted in London’s Notting Hill after the design won a public vote by a “landslide”. The piece has been created by artists Linett Kamala and Azarra Amoy, who were selected for the commission by curator Bolanle Tajudeen, for the project which honours the Black Lives Matter movement while also aiming to redress the systematic underrepresentation of Black womxn artists.
Kamala and Amoy designed three potential mural artworks based on key topics relating to local heritage and history, and social justice issues of female empowerment and racial representation. The winning design applies an afrofuturist style, using the idea of “Frestonian” postal stamps (alluding to its situation on Freston Road) to pay homage to “unsung heroines” from the Black community, Wilson and Mujinga. It includes images of security cameras to highlight the “hyper surveillance of young Black British men,” say the artists, as well as visa stamps “proclaiming Black Futures” and “calligraffiti” to depict words from placards from recent protests. The mural – the fourth in an annual series – will be painted on a large-scale hoarding on Freston Road this week, starting today (28 September 2020).
Curator Tajudeen is lead tutor of Art in the Age of Black Girl Magic, which began as a short course hosted by the Tate and has become an online course investigating the work of Black women and Black non-binary artists; and founder of Black Blossoms School of Art, a learning platform aiming to decolonise art education. She is also a resident of the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea where the mural will be situated, as part of the area’s Art Week in October.
“The collective feeling of desolation the Black British community endures when an individual's life is cut short because of systemic racism is harrowing,” Tajudeen said in a statement. “Analysing history it would not be wrong for Black Britons to disengage and refuse to no longer appeal to the moral sensibilities of those with power yet there is agonising hope things will change. This hope was reignited when many people from different quarters stood in solidarity to echo ‘Black Lives Matter’.
“What both artists hope to achieve is for communities living and working around the Freston Road area to stand in solidarity with the Black community as they believe the Frestonians who all changed their surname so they could have some reprieve from unfair regeneration plans would have fought alongside the Black community, as when anything is against the wishes of the people we must come together in unity, remembering and recognising “We are one family” and “All Black Lives Matter.”
The mural is being installed this week in time for Kensington + Chelsea Art Week (KCAW) from 1-11 October 2020.