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New exhibition charting East London’s Olympic legacy

The Green Legacy, Daniel Townsend Pic: Joe Bullock

There is cynicism and anxiety, as well as hope, optimism and pride in a new photography exhibition recording the impact that the Olympics has had on East Londoners.

The ‘Facing East’ exhibiton at the Four Corners gallery on Roman Road, Bethnal Green is a portrait of a diverse and vibrant community, all experiencing the impact of the Games in individual and communal ways.

The project is a collaboration between Fine art and Photography students from the University of East London and the National Portrait Gallery as part of the BT Road to 2012 project, which has brought together leading artists from all over the world to celebrate the Olympics.

It includes portraits on planning for transport disruption, the transformation of the environment and the subsequent impact for residents. A highlight is a photograph expressing the emotional impression on three young Greeks living in London, witnessing the ancient legacy of their homeland descend upon their place of residence.

The long-term benefits of the Olympic legacy, such as investment into nearby Newham Swimming Club and the clearing up of Lee Valley are visibly evident. While featuring poignant personal stories, like that of the East London student fearing that their landlord would raise their rent beyond their means.

The exhibition offers a thought-provoking take on the impact of the Games upon those affected by them long after the eyes of the world have moved on. It’s varied subject nature adds texture to the story of the Games and makes for an extremely intriguing collaborate body of work.

‘Facing East’ is exhibiting at Four Corners gallery in Bethnal Green until September 9. Admission is free.

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