Art or eyesore? Island split on mural
It was created to celebrate community cohesion, but a mural has split opinions on the Island.
George Green School students sprayed a design on the side of Manchester Road building last summer as part of a youth art project. But residents are keen to see it removed, claiming it makes the area "look like a ghetto".
Housing association Eastend Homes commissioned Year Nine pupils to work up the stencil-based creation on the theme of "Our People Our Planet". The project was funded by Wharf-based bank Morgan Stanley, and the 14-year-olds were assisted by Bromley-by-Bow public art group Signs Of Life.
Residents say they weren't told anything about the mural, and have since met the housing group to ask for it to be painted over.
Lifelong Isle of Dogs resident Lilian Murray, of Manchester Road, said: "I went on holiday, came back, went out to the shop and thought, 'What have they done here?'.
"It makes the estate look like a ghetto. It would be more acceptable if it was in good taste, or of something that reflects the Island's history.
"The residents I've talked to had no idea it was going up whatsoever. I'd never seen any graffiti on the wall before. It was just a wall.
"We were going to set up a petition to see what residents want, but Eastend Homes has said it is looking into it, so we've put it on hold."
George Green's Lee Diep Chu takes a different view, arguing that the mural has solved the problem of graffiti on the building.
The youth and community manager said: "I've lived on the Island all my life and there often used to be graffiti on that wall.
"We've only had one tag there since the mural went up, so it's made a huge difference.
"The pupils came up with the ideas in sessions in school. It's about community cohesion. We've got the theme of the planet and there's a river which represents the Thames. The silhouettes represent the young people that made it, and the colours represent the diversity of the community.
"I appreciate that we used spray paint, but the font and style is not graffiti and not ghetto-like. It's a piece of artwork that young people have contributed towards."