Capital City Academy anti-knife crime event: Artists and activists ‘shock and empower’ at Willesden school

Eugene Ankomah a performance artist in costume at a knife crime awareness event at Willesden's Capit

Eugene Ankomah a performance artist in costume at a knife crime awareness event at Willesden's Capital City Academy. Picture: Eugene Ankomah - Credit: Archant

A diverse group of artists and activists used the last week of the school term to bring a unique brand of performance art to a Willesden school – all in the name of reducing knife crime and empowering young people.

Kensal Rise-based performer Eugene Ankomah and Hackney lawyer Jennifer Obaseki were among those attending the event at Capital City Academy, Willesden.

Eugene said he shocked them with his outfit and gave a presentation about the impact of knife crime on communities, while Jennifer used her time to talk young people through the legal implications of knife crime for them.

At the event, other speakers included FGM campaigner Comfort Momoh MBE, kick boxing expert Stephen Meehan, and Amani Simpson - a film-maker and anti-knife crime activist.

Eugene, 39, told this newspaper: "It was a really successful event, I was really pleased to be able to play my part.

"I think it's really interesting and important for the young people to hear from different voices, not just the police all the time.

"My presentation consisted mainly of a slide show which featured my Re-Claim art installation, its content and the impact its having in bringing communities together to discuss uncomfortable topics such as knife and street crime."

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Eugene, who said his entrance to the school's auditorium - in full costume - caused "quite a stir" added he had had a "terrific" reaction from the pupils.

Jennifer told this newspaper: "I just talked them through the legal implications they may come across.

"It was about how the law treats them as minors, and what they can expect from the law - the obligations the police have - when they report things."

Jennifer - who runs a solicitors firm in Hackney that offers a free weekly community drop-in for those in need of legal advice - added she had been keen to do some "mythbusting" about the role of social services in protecting young people and the things children and teenagers should be wary of - including trafficking and grooming.

Mr Wola, the school's head of community engagement, said: "The event was very informative. The different speakers brought a different narrative to the event with their own unique styles at discussing a very important topic.

"The students were inspired, and one student is keen on using their art coursework to show the impact of knife crime."