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Kensal Green artist launches interactive installation to warn youngsters against knife crime

PUBLISHED: 09:27 30 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:30 30 November 2018

Eugene Ankomah with his art installation against knife crime Re-Claim: Memories Lived’,Picture: Eugene Ankomah

Eugene Ankomah with his art installation against knife crime Re-Claim: Memories Lived’,Picture: Eugene Ankomah

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A Kensal Rise artist’s mission to eradicate knife crime continues with a new interactive installation.

Eugene Ankomah's instllation Re-Claim: Memories Lived’ appeals to all generations,Picture: Eugene AnkomahEugene Ankomah's instllation Re-Claim: Memories Lived’ appeals to all generations,Picture: Eugene Ankomah

Eugene Ankomah, who lives in Mount Pleasant, has worked with young people to create his latest project ‘Re-Claim: Memories Lived’, which explores the knife crime epidemic in the country.

The 38-year-old father of three hopes to bring the project, currently in south London, to his former high school in Willesden, now Capital City Academy in Doyle Gardens.

He said his “spirit was disturbed” after talking to stabbed survivors and hearing about 15-year-old Quamari Serunkuma Barnes, who was tragically murdered outside Capital’s school gates in January 2017.

He said: “After hearing about and reading countless stories and knowing of two young people who were stabbed and survived, not to mention the tragic case of Quamari Barnes, my spirit was disturbed in so many way. I just wanted to add my voice to the conversation, but to do it how I know best, through art, as I realised no one had attempted to come in from that visual angle.”

Re-Claim: Memories Lived’ by Eugene Ankomah raises awareness of knife crime, Picture: Eugene AnkomahRe-Claim: Memories Lived’ by Eugene Ankomah raises awareness of knife crime, Picture: Eugene Ankomah

He collaborated with some 40 young people aged between 10 and 25 at the Salmon Youth Centre in Bermondsey where he is currently artist-in-residence.

The result looks like a scene in chaos, but on closer inspection there are flower bouquets, drawings, paintings, handwritten notes and photographs

“I wanted to both express my weariness on the issue, but also that of the young people around me, and to give them a platform to shout out their desperate fears.

“I created the art to look like a memorial scene, to have all the elements you would expect to see at a memorial scene, but looking more closely the viewer then discovers everything is hand made, so therefore authentically raw, personalised and dignified.”

He added: “All photos of victims for example are replaced with drawings and paintings of young people who are all alive

From that perspective the piece is actually a celebration of life, the preciousness of it, and not a representation of death.

“Mostly it’s warning the viewer, especially young people, about the dangers of carrying a knife.

“I strongly believe we all have to try and play a part in the larger conversation going on, to fight hard and help save the future of our young people.”

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