With the tragedy that happened in Grenfell Tower on June 14th, I have been doing everything I can in the past month to contribute what I can to help. I felt very shocked and upset by this tragedy, it happened so close to home and in a place I grew up visiting my friends from secondary school. Also my current place of work is literally 10 seconds away from tower, many people from Grenfell Tower were frequent visitors to the Kensington Leisure Centre, I recognised many faces on the missing posters.
It saddened me and I really felt I had to do something. Kensington Leisure Centre organised a Community Day on July 9th and I was happy to do a painting to donate to the centre for the day, so everybody visiting can feel empowered and encourage positive reinforcement. I never understood the power of Art and how healing it can be. I got many messages from people saying how moved they were from the painting, how empowered and good they felt. They wanted to contribute and help in whatever way they can. I am so overjoyed I got this message across in my art piece. The painting is displayed at the Kensington Leisure Centre if you ever come down to visit! It also inspired a fellow artist friend of mine from secondary school, Annette Fernando. We met up and created a heart together with the image of a Phoenix and we are planning to take this to a bigger scale and create an art mural of it! The symbolism of the Phoenix is to rise up from the ashes we feel is very appropriate and positive in remembrance of the victims from this tragedy.
The Grenfell Tower fire is a tragedy that could have been prevented, there are so many factors that caused the fire to spread as monstrously as it did. Even with the Grenfell Action Group in place declaring these factors in 2016, Kensington Council did absolutely nothing. At work I meet the survivors, they come inside to visit and I hear their stories, the truth of the events. I see distraught family members of victims walking by with police to go and identify the dead bodies in the forensics tents just behind the centre. It’s a dreary and depressing atmosphere that rests in North Kensington, but the most comforting thing is that community has bonded and come together so strongly. When I come to work or when I walk around the Westway memorial, I never fail to see a smiling face always willing to reach out a friendly hand and have a conversation. You are never alone in this area, I have connected with so many people through this tragedy, we are now a united front who will make sure that justice will be done and carry on to influence positivity in the art we share and the words we speak.