A new exhibition celebrates the past, present and future of Broadwater FarmA group of young creatives are challenging negative perceptions of the Tottenham estate through art
The Lost Blocks Collective wants to change the narrative surrounding Tottenham’s Broadwater Farm Estate with a new, immersive exhibition.
City in the Sky – which opens at the Opportunities Building on Broadwater Farm today (22nd July) – hopes to be an expression of appreciation for the estate, its community and history.
“This exhibition is about more than just Lost Blocks Collective, it's about celebrating the true beautiful history of Broadwater Farm while acknowledging her scars,” said Elliesse Kaaouachi, a founding member of Lost Blocks.
The collective is made up of young creatives, like Elliesse, who grew up on and around Broadwater Farm Estate. Together, their aim is to highlight untold stories, while celebrating the diversity, culture and history of their community. Past projects include a podcast series – ‘The Voices of Broadwater Farm’ – through which residents were invited to share their experiences and aspirations for the future of Broadwater Farm. In February, Lost Blocks also held a week of creative skills workshops for young people in Haringey, hosted by industry professionals from the area.
“It’s about changing the narrative and hearing from the people that live in Tottenham and on Broadwater Farm, rather than just the narrative in the media,” said Minoya Patkunam, a member of the collective. “It’s also about owning the narrative.”
Broadwater Farm Estate has long been associated with crime and disorder, a negative stereotype that stems from the 1985 riots, which erupted following the death of Cynthia Jarret (a Black woman who died of heart failure while police raided her home). In order to challenge the stereotype, Lost Blocks worked with local artists and residents to bring City in the Sky to fruition.
Giovanni Rose (known for his poem Welcome to Tottenham) has written an original piece about the estate, which will be displayed alongside poetry written by young people who attended the Collective’s ‘Creative Skills Week’.
Meanwhile, the visual artist Wendy Charlton has contributed pieces from her PhD project, The Farm – Narratives of Home. A story-sharing project, it follows four residents on Broadwater Farm as they explore local histories and lived experiences.
City in the Sky also includes contributions from students at The Willow Primary School, who created paper models of all 12 blocks on the estate (including Tangmere and Northolt – which are due to be demolished). The students were asked to share their thoughts on what the new blocks should look like, and encouraged to showcase their ideas through the models.
“The exhibition will show people what the estate was like, what the estate is like and give people an idea of what the estate is going to be like in the future,” said Micheal Watson, another founding member.
City in the Sky is running from the 22nd–30th July. Alongside the exhibition is a programme of mini events and workshops, including a creative networking evening on Wednesday, 27th July. Reseidents will also be able to get headshots and family portraits taken for free on Thursday, 28th July.
For more information, visit: lostblockscollective.com