Bow Colours, a mural representing the diversity of the area has been painted in East London. Created following a workshop with local young people it has already added a welcome splash of colour.
Curated by arts organisation Trapped in Zone One. They worked with the council and local groups to secure a wall on a popular route. Leading from Bow Road station to Roman Road it intersects the area by going through the railway passage at Tom Thumb’s Arch. The mural is based just before the tunnel and stands out amongst the magnolia bricked apartments that surround it.
Bow Colours is a mural which has multiple meanings. The colours represent both the people of the area as well as the symbols that have meaning to different groups. It also represents nature and how important this was to the people of Bow during the lockdown. Nearby green spaces such as Victoria Park, the canals and Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park played a really important role during that time.
The green in the mural which ties many of the inspirations together. The background is obviously a nature scene and so the green of the natural world is obvious. However green is also a key element of two flags. First the Bangladeshi flag and secondly the flag of the suffragettes. That latter famous symbol was designed by Sylvia Pankhurst who once lived in Bow and who did so much of the people of the area. The two blended together represent much of the social history of Bow. A history of immigration, of struggle and of community.
Painted by Luke Smile and Alex Altona, the Bow Colours mural was a combination of styles. Smile is well known for his lettering with Altona creating the background. In each corner are the words unity, respect, equality and togetherness. Each of the words had meaning to the young people taking part. Words that for them represented everything that they wanted their future in Bow to include.
Bow Colours is a mural in Bow, East London. It was painted by Luke Smile and Alex Altona and curated by Trapped in Zone One. It was developed following consultation with local young people who developed the idea for the design and the messaging behind it. The workshop took place in December 2021 and the mural was completed on 24 January 2022.