One year after the London riots, some neighbourhoods in the city still bear the scars. One such neighbourhood is Lavender Hill, located near the southwestern Clapham Junction railway station. To commemorate the riots, a number of Lavender Hill residents got together to paint a mural over the boarded up remains of a business destroyed during the mayhem.
At least 100 people gathered at the charred exterior of Lavender Hill’s Party Superstore over the weekend to take part in the mural painting event. The building, which had been looted and then set ablaze during last year’s riots, stood as a highly visible reminder of the violence.
Video of the Party Superstore on fire during the 2011 London riots. Video posted on YouTube by titian410.
Dubbed “I Art This”, the mural project brought children, teenagers and adults from the community together to help transform the damage into a work of collective art.

“I was trying to think of ways to make the area look pretty again and maybe help the community try and forget the riots”

Roopa Basu runs a small business in Lavender Hill. She organised this weekend’s I Art This community mural painting event.
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.