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The idea of a mural to commemorate the victory of local people at the Battle of Cable Street was proposed in 1976 by the fledgling THAP, before it had paid staff, before it had a bookshop, when it was a sprawl of people with an endless stack of ideas, many of which fell into the categories of the impossible or near impossible. The idea of the mural was in the latter category.
The huge mural eventually found its way onto the outside wall of St. Georges Town Hall under the auspices of the Public Arts Workshop in association with the Cable Street Mural Project. The original artist, Dave Binnington, worked out of the Basement Project in the depths of the Town Hall itself.
The mural was vandalised (see above) in 1982 by the British National Party. Shortly after this, David Binnington left the project. After that, the giant artwork was redesigned and completed by Paul Butler, Desmond Rochfort and Ray Walker.
Ray was also hired by THAP to design and paint an even bigger and more ambitious mural off Brick Lane. The ‘Chicksand Mural’ was completed in 1980 with a huge street party to celebrate its opening.
The Chicksand Mural no longer exists as it was chipped off the warehouse wall during re-decoration of the building.
Detail from the Chicksand Mural.
Ray Walker at work on the Chicksand Mural.
Sadly, Liverpool-born Ray, died at the age of thirty-nine just as his reputation was growing. His life and work were commemorated in a book published by the GLC and an exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall.
Salique, the lead singer of the band Dishari launches the Chicksand Mural with the THAP team.
East End Impressions
In the 1970s, ‘East End Impressions’ was set up by THAP in conjunction with Centerprise in Hackney to encourage painting and the production and sale of affordable prints; an attempt to emulate the success of their community publishing work.
The three full colour works produced were by Taploe Johnson, Ron Barnes and Dan Jones, whose picture depicts the bustling E1 Festival when it was held at Shadwell Basin. Local artist Dan has often been called on to supply last minute images for event programmes and poetry collections. Illustrations from his journeys to Bangladesh adorn the pages of Across Seven Seas and Thirteen Rivers.
East End Impressions promotional leaflet.
As well as work on youth club murals or temporary ‘site specific’ artworks, the project’s involvement in the visual arts can also be found on its book covers, event flyers, posters and postcards.
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