Autistic voices, origami and protest posters – light show launches new Hackney arts festival

St John’s Church in Hackney. Pic: Melody Chan

Moving imagery was beamed onto St John’s Church in Hackney last night to kick off the two-week-long culturally inclusive festive arts exhibition ‘Hackney Revealed’. 

SDNA Moving Images, a creative studio based in Islington, organised the event, which takes place from November 15 to December 8. They collaborated with 12 artists for Hackney Revealed, which will feature over 250 local residents in its displays.  

Over the fortnight, an inclusive set of participating artists will deliver their distinctive interpretations and representations of art.

This includes a sound piece collaboration which features the voices of autistic children aged four to 16 from The Garden, as well as multicultural performances from the Paracarnival and Hackney Chinese Community.  

C.A. Halpin and her portraits ‘I See What You’re Saying’ will also be on display from November 17. These portraits were created with the help of patients and staff from St Joseph’s Day Hospice.  

Alice Urquhart, Halpin’s project contributor, told Eastlondonlines that the portraits are capable of breaking care stereotypes around caring: “Hospice seems to be a much misunderstood term for an important and really happy place.” 

She added: “For our part, the project hopes to illustrate the pure pleasure of being amongst such a diverse and vital group of people facing similar struggles with something beyond courage … Being there was an eye opener in many respects, ​​and to reiterate; one so worth celebrating.” 

Future Hackney and young people will have their collection of photographs taken with film and disposable cameras, ‘Gillett Square Stories’, displayed from December 1.

The set of pictures will destabilise the norm of reporting from a white male in a middle-class setting perspective.

On behalf of Future Hackney, Donna Travis told Eastlondonlines: “We document whatever was happening on the streets … Protests and resistance usually [show] something is wrong; something needs changing.” 

By photographing the streets, she said: “The co-authorship of Gillett Square Stories is brilliant … It is a projection that people can see and enjoy with no harm to the environment.” 

Travis added: “For us it is a breakout … to experiment with a wider range (of photography) than digital colour … There’s no distraction. There’s a timeless quality to it, a bit more of a journalistic feel to it… really taking the drama out of photography which can be meaningful.” 

Future Hackney’s works act as an urgent response to environmental crises, including getting young people to connect with individuals from Extinction Rebellion and Animal Rebellion: “There’s a huge climate catastrophe we are heading for and the press isn’t telling us much about it.”

She hopes photography will initiate conversations, establish the telling of stories, and amplify community action for good causes. 

Here is some of the art you can find at the festival:

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