I have a print and design studio on Lavender Hill, which is where the riots happened. I had just taken over the storefront on August 1, and the riots happened less than a week later on the 7th. My husband and I were in the shop that day, getting things ready. At first we thought there had been an accident outside, because of all the sirens. Then someone knocked on the door while he was fleeing the neighbourhood and said a nearby department store had been looted and that we should run. At first we didn’t believe him, but when things got really bad we went home.
Because we were still setting things up in the shop when the riots happened, it looked empty and was left untouched. But everything around my store was damaged, which ended up impacting my business because there was no one on the streets the first month we were open.
All photos of I Art This community mural project courtesy of roopadesigns.
In February, the local council said that it would be at least another year before the buildings damaged during the riots would be repaired. So they invited people from the community to come up with a proposition to regenerate the neighbourhood. I began trying to think of ways to make the area look pretty again and maybe help the community try and forget the riots. There were still very visible traces of it on the streets – the Party Superstore had been entirely burnt out and a number of other businesses had been ruined. I came up with the idea of having the community paint a mural on the destroyed storefronts, and in April my proposal was accepted.