A new project exploring experiences of home and migration in Hackney. Autograph has paired up with youth media organisation Mouth That Roars to provide workshops, training and a creative media qualification for eight young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. They’ve worked with artists and filmmakers for inspiration about how to tell stories, create powerful images and raise awareness of important social issues.
The group is creating new artworks reflecting on identity and belonging in the borough – both their own and across generations. Asking what makes Hackney home, they have interviewed elder residents about their stories of arriving to, and being a part of, our local community.
We want you to join us! From 15 March 2021, the finished works will be shared publicly on the Old Street Digital Canvas.
The artworks will become part of a wider campaign on social media, and we’ll be asking you to submit your own photographs, drawings, videos and thoughts on the idea of home in the borough. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook (or join our newsletter) for updates.
Andreus, Luis, Andrea, Francia, Francois, Mohammad, Brian and Djamila are all young people from a refugee and migrant backgrounds, who are creating new work for #HackneyIsHome. Since October 2020, they've been learning new skills in film and photography, exploring local history, and speaking to elder Hackney residents.
The #HackneyIsHome group took part in 11 workshops from October to December 2020, covering topics including photography, film, identity, documentary, community, and activism. To stay Covid-safe, the workshops took place both at Autograph's gallery in Hackney and online.
The sessions have been led by Autograph’s Ali Eisa and Denise Rose from Mouth That Roars, alongside Brian and Djamila – two young people from refugee backgrounds who are gaining professional experience in facilitation. Workshop speakers have included artist Aida Silvestri, socially engaged photographer D.Wiafe, documentary filmmakers Ka-Miller Reid and Sam Leibmann, and Josie Stevens from Hackney Museum. Further inspiration has been provided from Mouth That Roars’ community film collection and Autograph's photography collection, sharing artists like Syd Shelton and Mahtab Hussain.
At the heart of the #HackneyIsHome project is intergenerational dialogue, sharing lived experiences of migration and community. We invited two elders who live in the borough to be interviewed by the #HackneyIsHome group about their lives.
Joe shared his story about growing up in Hackney after coming to the UK from the Caribbean. The second interview was with Modinat, who told us her story about moving to Hackney from Nigeria and what she loved about her new home. The group took on all the different professional roles from interviewing to sound, camera and lighting, controlling all aspects of the films they created.
At Autograph, we believe that visual representation is empowering. Working with our staff, the #HackneyIsHome group were given access to – and training on – professional photography equipment to create portraits with personal objects that told a story about their lives. Here's a look at what they created.
In November, artist Aida Silvestri set the group a creative challenge: to create posters for the #HackneyisHome project combining a self-portrait with an important message they wanted to share with people. The images they created are a starting point for how we will make activist artworks with a message for the public #HackneyisHome campaign. See the results below.
The #HackneyIsHome artists have collaborated with Aida Silvestri to contribute to the Coronaquilt Silhouettes Initiative public art project. They created works based on a traditional quilt square pattern called 'Corona', overlaid with a silhouette portrait of themselves a few words describing their mental health state during the pandemic.
The project is run by Art Refuge. Ultimately, all of the public contributions will be combined into a single tapestry artwork.
In 2021 the project moves into its next stage. The group will start working on their final artworks in collaboration with Aida Silvestri, ready for public display on the Old Street Digital Canvas and at Autograph’s building in Hackney. As part of a visual campaign, the group will also create social media messages to encourage people to share their own stories of Hackney as a home, and their lives in the area. We hope to be able to celebrate this project together in April 2021!
The #HackneyIsHome project is led by:
Ali Eisa, Autograph's Learning & Participation Manager. Ali is an artist and educator with passion for doing creative work with young people and getting their voices heard on the big social issues we face.
Denise Rose from Mouth That Roars. Denise set up Mouth That Roars 21 years ago with the sole purpose of training young people in film production who wouldn’t ordinarily have access to media resources, enabling people who are often misrepresented to be heard.
#HackneyIsHome is supported by Hackney Council’s Shoreditch and Hoxton Arts Fund, created from a levy on developers to support arts and culture programmes that bring different communities together.