Afro Comb Adventures artwork unveiled in West Green Road, Tottenham

New artwork unveiled

Artist Jennie Pedley with school children Jahari, Hasan, Reeyarani, Emma and Councillor Alan Strickland

First published in News
Last updated
by , Reporter

New art inspired by black history has been unveiled in one of Tottenham’s busiest streets.

The Afro Comb Adventures’ installation was put on display under the railway bridge in West Green Road on Thursday.

It shows silhouettes of local children exploring the afro comb history of one of Tottenham’s most popular streets.

The piece, the first of four public art projects, was created by local artist Jennie Pedley and funded by Haringey Borough Council and the Arts Council.

Ms Pedley worked with pupils from Seven Sisters Primary School to create the new work and was inspired by an exhibition at Bruce Castle Museum last year which explored Haringey’s connection to the afro comb as home to Dyke & Dryden – the UK’s first distributor.

The firm, founded in Tottenham High Road in the 1960s, became Britain’s first black-owned multi-million pound business and made and sold its combs at their West Green Road shop until the 1990s.

Jennie joined the pupils and Councillor Alan Strickland, Haringey Council's cabinet member for regeneration, to unveil the art.

Jennie Pedley said: “I am delighted to be working in my local area with more than 200 young people over the next two years to create artworks which explore different aspects of Tottenham life and history.

“This is my first opportunity to make work for the street and I think the silhouettes and vibrant colours contrast well with the earthy colours of the bridge wall. I hope that the public enjoy the transformation of the bridge into a gallery.”

Funding from the Arts Council and Haringey Council has allowed Jennie to work with mixed-ability students at Park View School, The Vale School and Blanche Nevile School.

She has worked with organisations such as the National Trust and the Natural History Museum, as well as working in hospitals across London and on Olympic cultural legacy projects.

Haringey Council won funding from the High Street Innovation Fund last year for improvements to the section of West Green Road between the High Road, in Tottenham, and Lawrence Road.

According to the council, creating new space for public art was one of three key improvements suggested by residents and businesses last year in a consultation on how to spend £50,000 to spruce up the area.

The council has also commissioned local arts group Make-Room to design welcoming bespoke shop fronts for some of the street’s best-loved businesses, while work to create a tropical ‘pocket park’ to provide a lush oasis for shoppers will start later this year.

Cllr Strickland said: “Local people have been clear that they want to see a cleaner, greener West Green Road and it’s great that local children have been the inspiration behind this striking artwork.

“Creating welcoming high streets that allow our small businesses to flourish is a central part of our regeneration plans to improve local facilities and build a Tottenham fit for the 21st Century.”

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