In London we worked with a group of disabled tenants of the Gateway Housing Association. This 50m long mural is at the south east corner of Victoria Park, on Cadogan Terrace, south of St Marks Gate.
This mural has shades of blue along the top half and shades of green along the bottom half. There are many human silhouettes in shades of blue, green, yellow and red. Some figures are standing, others are sitting, some in wheelchairs, some on the grass, alone or in groups. In one section a wheelchair user struggles to get on a bus. In another section one figure appears to be attacking another. One figure has fallen with her walking frame beside her, another person is helping her up. The words We Are All Equal and Respect Rights are written in big letters.
Some of the main issues that came up in this mural are:
- Basic access issues - the rights the disability movement has been fighting for for decades.
- Access to public events - concern over coming to the park to see the live screening of the Olympics - will the crowds be considerate of people who do not move as fast, need more space or cannot sit on the grass.
- Access to public transport - being refused access to London buses because there is no space left for a wheelchair user, the ramp is not working or the wheelchair is the wrong size. Several people brought up issues with London buses. One person went on to contact Transport for London. He got this reply:
"Thank you for your feedback relating to the difficulties wheelchair users face boarding buses... I found the (mural) images very thought provoking. It is a great project, that I hope will help to improve matters." -- Will Roberts, Transport for London: personal opinion.
- Fear of crowded streets during the Olympics - likely to be increased street crime and people less considerate when in crowds.
- Social concerns - not being able to see friends who live in inaccessible houses. The chief executive of the housing association responded to this issue during the mural opening event:
"You challenged us today because many of our homes are not actually accessible, although we make a commitment to providing lifetime homes for our tenants. So it's really something that all housing providers need to think about." -- Sheron Carter - Chief Executive, Gateway Housing Association
Creating the Mural
The Opening Event
What people said
It's amazing. I never imagined it would be so good.
To think we started in that room just chatting and now this is what we've done. I can't believe it!
I'm going to bring all my friends to come and see it.
The mural looks great! Thank you to all the people involved. We have very good feedback from park users. It will be really appreciated by us all.
You challenged us today because many of our homes are not actually accessible, although we make a commitment to providing lifetime homes for our tenants. So its really something that all housing providers need to think about.
Great! Creativity at its best - nice, innovative, informative and educative.
Press for the opening event
From the Docklands and East London Advertiser: an online article about the mural.