Our work experience student reflects on Lucinda Rogers: On Gentrification

We've been delighted to welcome work experience student Tasnia (aged 14) to the team. In her final week, she reflects on our current exhibition Lucinda Rogers: On Gentrification and on how it relates to her own experience of growing up in East London.

Details

  • Tasnia
  • Education

My name is Tasnia and I go to a school in Stratford called School21. I have been doing work experience at House of Illustration on Wednesdays since September 2017. During my time here I have looked at the Lucinda Rogers exhibition, and this blog is my response to her drawings which are currently on show in the gallery.

Lucinda Rogers spent a few months drawing the streetscapes of Ridley Road Market in Dalston, highlighting the many different cultures, clothing, food, toiletries and cleaning products that she observed there. She felt passionate about drawing this particular area, in part in response to the development of a high rise modern building which was going up behind the historic market.

Ridley Road Market has over 180 stalls including a diverse range of quality goods and is also one of the most vibrant places in East London, offering a unique combination of international flavours from all around the world. With a mix of Afro-Caribbean, Asian and European goods, there is something for everyone. Around the market you can hear the energetic sounds of reggae music and the natural blend of cultures.

I asked Emma Winch, who works in a Hackney Museum, to give me her thoughts about Ridley Road Market. “Looking at Lucinda’s artwork made me feel very nostalgic for a part of Hackney that is so rapidly disappearing and made me feel like I need to do more within my role in a museum to record and preserve the history of these important community spaces”.

She added that, “It is important that we collect and share the stories of communities from all over the world that have helped to build and shape Hackney over time”. Emma related to the drawings “because they felt busy and colourful and a snapshot of the Hackney I know and love... I recognised faces and the products for sale, so it felt like a very well researched and a sensitive representation of the wonderful mix of people who rely on and the market for their work in their daily lives”.

Lucinda uses colour only in selected areas. I think she has worked like this is in order to highlight the specific areas she wants us to focus on. I think it is wonderful how she includes different views and perspective in her drawings. In nearly all of them you can spot modern buildings popping up in the background showing that, slowly, places such as markets like this one are starting to disappear.

Personally, I think it's really important we don’t forget the areas we have grown up in. It seems to me that buildings are starting to look similar, and places are losing some of what makes them interesting.

Lucinda Rogers used Ridley Road Market as an example to show how history is being demolished and to argue this should not be happening.

I feel that my area, Stratford, is also beginning to lose the homely feeling it once had and that everything is becoming bland because of all the dull buildings being made. It makes me worry for the future as I feel that everything that has been there for a fairly long time is gradually going to be replaced by glass buildings. I think that it will damage the history of Stratford, in that people will start to forget what the area was like before and what made it unique.

Lucinda Rogers: On Gentrification runs until 25 March 2018.

Would you like to find out more? We will be In Conversation with Lucinda Rogers on Thursday 1 February 2018.