Young artists exhibited at Westfield Stratford City

Shah Zahman's work, Freedom

Shah Zahman's work, Freedom - Credit: Shah Zahman

Young Newham artists' work is being exhibited as part of a series of events throughout this year.

Pieces by Chris Chinagu, Edrisa Camara, Shah Zahman and Venetta Edwards are on display in Westfield Stratford City for an exhibition called Unity on the theme of reflections during lockdown. 

Unity is one of a series of events as part of Westfield's Art on the Wall programme. 

Venetta Edwards

Venetta Edwards's work, Unity - Credit: Venetta Edwards

Venetta, who is also deputy detached youth worker of Newham Council’s detached services (street-based youth work), said: "For me the art is more than just an image, this exhibition is about young people explaining themselves – it’s a chance for them to illustrate their thoughts because sometimes their voices get drowned out or lost in translation.

"Their artwork is an impression and reflection of their thinking and it gives them a chance to be heard and hopefully understood.”

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Chris's work uses a style called double exposure to tell his story of lockdown and the hours he spent playing basketball to support his mental health.

Shah's piece, called Freedom, portrays his experiences of being infected with Covid in December.

Chris Chinagu artwork

Chris Chinagu's piece, untitled - Credit: Chris Chinagu

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He said: “The painting demonstrates my battle with high temperatures – I felt like my body was burning. The symbol of the dove represents my freedom from illness, and breaking out, from the slumber of Covid.”

Edrisa's art pays tribute to the late Kobe Bryant, an American professional basketballer player, represented by the jersey.

“Kobe was the person who not only motivated me into basketball, but how to work hard at anything I set my mind to,” Edrisa said.

Venetta aims to conceptualise Unity, with her piece showing the variations of shapes and colours signifying the changing journey during the lockdown period.

Edrisa Camara artwork

Edrisa Camara's piece, untitled - Credit: Edrisa Camara

The differing facial expressions show the variety of messages vocalised during lockdown.

She said: “This exhibition has a chance to support change because art influences society by changing opinions, instilling values and translating experiences across space and time. These exhibitions will also act as a storage place of community memories.”

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