Public art projects, especially those funded by public bodies, are often a bit lame and feel like they are just there as decoration. The 'I am here' project on the Haggerston West & Kinglsand Estates is very different.
When consulted about estate improvements, residents made it clear they wanted the buildings to look more attractive while they wait for the new homes. The new social landlord L&Q has now removed ugly orange boards over the windows of empty flats as they felt they contributed to making the area look derelict.
As a response to this, artists living on the estate have come up with an innovative art project called ‘I am here’. It aims to create a more positive image for the area and interest in the regeneration project as well as masking the empty properties. Sixty-seven high resolution portraits of local residents have been installed to give Samuel House in Haggerston a complete facelift.
A ceremony on 13 October brought residents to gether to celebrate the start of demolition on some of the Kingsland Estate blocks and work on building new homes will start in the new year. The Chief Executive of L&Q and the Deputy Mayor of Hackney rightly praised tenants for their key role in keeping this project moving whilst others stalled. Their involvement will also ensure that the homes that are now being built will meet the needs of Haggerston people for years to come.