Hackney Wick: the artists’ community.
I discovered Hackney Wick in 2014 and fell in love with its low urban sprawl of warehouses, old factories buildings and canals. It was June, the sun was bright in the blue sky and I felt as if I was in another country. It felt semi abandoned and in many of those buildings artists were quietly working away in their studios.
Hackney WickeD Art Festival
Two months later, in August, on a Sunday afternoon, I went to my first Hackney WickeD Festival 2014 and blogged about the amazing afternoon I had spent there. It was a buzzing affair with avant guard performance artists, live music and the artists studios to visit. It was also funded by the Arts Council for the first time.
Hackney WickeD 2016
There was no festival in 2015, so I was excited to return last Sunday, 31st July and see what was happening this time around.
My first surprise was how quiet it was but the Lord Napier had had an amazing make-over. The artists had gone into overdrive to produce this wonderful display.
One of the main purposes of Hackney WickeD is to allow the public to view the artists’ studios. And this year there were 10 studios open with people popping in and out. But I saw no street theatre or live music. I took this photograph from my 2014 visit.
And this venue wasn’t even open in 2016.
I decided to make the best of things and check out the street art as it was months since my last visit. There is still plenty of magnificent street art which I will create a separate post about. I spotted these shutters and took a snap. And then I went for a closer look and on the wall between the left hand shutter and the middle one, where the graf is, I spotted something…
Before my visit I had checked out the Hackney WickeD website and read about the #43 A Hackney WickeD art drop by artist Sean Worrell. 43 pieces of art painted on found pieces of wood were scattered across the area. It was a treasure hunt. As the festival runs over 3 days, Fri – Sun, I assumed that by 3.30pm on Sunday afternoon all the pieces would be found. But… I’d found one. I was so amazed that I forgot to snap it in situ.
I carried on with my hunt for street art but I was perturbed by the change in atmosphere which was due to the masses of demolition in the area. And only that morning a petition had come my way asking people to sign and Save Hackney Wick. Now I was witnessing why. The photographs tell the story better than I can in words.
I paused to watch these holiday makers take their barge through the lock. As did many others but overall, it was very quiet.
On the other side of the canal I saw this…
There was some great political street art from artists who’ve worked and lived in this area for a long time.
I went home with mixed feelings. I was heartbroken to see that this area is being dismantled slowly.
But quietly delighted with my piece of street art by Sean Worrell which I shall treasure. And maybe I went to the festival at the wrong time because the programme looked busier than I experienced. We shall see what 2017 brings and if there is still a thriving artist community then.