This poster might look like any other street art pastiche, but it’s made me feel proud and uneasy at the same time, all thanks to @foolsprints. Proud, because I used to live in the Docklands and the community spirit is still as strong as it ever was…and it always has been. The phrase “the people of Docklands have always had to fight to make the best of appalling conditions, and to change them” really resonates to me with the work of groups like SPLASH and even neighbours of mine like Sister Christine.
Uneasy, because as much as I’m passionate about visualising, this post shows the danger of institutions using visuals to represent the aspirations of local communities as a way of justifying their policies. This danger will always exist if we don’t bring people together to visualise an issue.
But in the case of the Docklands, although they asked “what’s going on behind our backs?”, the local community also showed that “nothing about us can be done without us”, so they got together as the Docklands Community Poster Project and developed their own visual strategy.
So going back to the poster, I wonder what would have happened if the community and institutions had visualised the issues and opportunities together when constructing Canary Wharf?