Mural sparks criticism after 'crime and murders' describe North Woolwich

Newham Trackside Wall

Installation of the Newham Trackside Wall started last month. - Credit: Benedict Johnson

A mural which refers to "crime and murders" being "the only negative thing" about a neighbourhood has been criticised.

Installation of the 2km public artwork called the Newham Trackside Wall began last month.

Hailed as the longest piece of art in Europe, the mural flanks a stretch of Transport for London's (TfL's) Elizabeth line running through Custom House, Silvertown and North Woolwich.

mural section

This section of the mural has been criticised. - Credit: @StopCityAirport

However, one section includes the line: "The only negative thing is the crime and the murders, which has (sic) been increasing.

"This is unfortunate, but other than that everything else is fine."


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The remark has prompted criticism with one person tweeting: "Just seen this very poor excuse for art along the #crossrail wall and then see the most shocking and derogatory quote.

"Do residents really need to be reminded they live in a murder zone?"

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Others have expressed disbelief, commenting: "Did someone read the quote and actually think it was what the area needs? Unbelievable."

Artist Sonia Boyce was commissioned by public art organisation UP Projects and Crossrail to create the mural.

It is intended to provide a snapshot of the Royal Docks and is the result of the artist working with people from neighbourhoods along the route.

The two-year project included face-to-face workshops with the community. People were encouraged to provide testimonials as to what it meant to them to live or work in the area.

When complete, the artwork will share more than 170 stories which should detail the unique aspects of the community as well as recognising some of the challenges people face.

The Recorder understands that all the stories went through an approval process which involved a panel of people from Newham.

They document the feelings of the individuals that contributed to the artwork, which aims to maintain the integrity of the voices of a broad spectrum of the community.

This includes young people who engaged with the project.

UP Projects: Newham Trackside Wall Artwork with Artist Sonia Boyce

Newham Trackside Wall Artwork artist Sonia Boyce. - Credit: Alastair@fyfephoto.com

Neither UP Projects, Sonia Boyce, nor Crossrail has commented.

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