Six Oranges, the production company of which I am co-founder and partner, had a story in the London Evening Standard newspaper last night.
We’ve been working on a documentary which looks at the transformation and regeneration of Brick Lane and Shoreditch in the East End of London – especially through art, migration and gentrification.
It’s a very hip and trendy area (disclosure – I live there!) and has attracted many people over the centuries. Historically, it has always been an area where migrants have settled – from the Huguenots in the 18th century to the Jewish community in the 19th and 20th centuries to the Bangladeshis in the 20th.
Now we have the street artists, economic migrants, and fashion victims all rubbing shoulders in the area.
The spoils from the area’s recent gentrification are not equal. Some have opened businesses and are making a fortune despite the economic recession. In fact – I reckon there are more businesses open here now than before the economic crash.
But, scratch the surface, and you’ll find people living in desperate conditions. We met a group of Romanians who were living in a condemned building which was barely 12 square-metres in size. They were working for a local businessman and when the work was done – they were told to bugger off.
At the same time – the vibrancy of the area comes through in many ways. A very public version is through the street art. Six Oranges has been working with local street artists in the creation of a documentary to record and capture a snapshot of this change.
We’d sought permission to get a Belgian street artist by the name of ROA (who by the way is a really decent and humble guy) to create the largest piece of street art in London. He completed it this week and it really is a stunning piece of work. It literally stopped the traffic. We got a piece in the Evening Standard about it.
But like the area, street art is transitory, a place where things come and go to be replaced by someone or something else. And this piece will disappear when the site is used to build a hotel. I really suggest you go and see it (Hanbury Street) along with the other street art there. I will be offering tours in the near future.