Shiraz Bayjoo, Globe Town Mural, 2023. Photo: Hannah Burton
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Whitechapel Gallery unveils new mural in Globe Town

Globe Town Mural by Shiraz Bayjoo depicts the rich social, cultural and religious history of Tower Hamlets.

Tower Hamlets Council and the Whitechapel Gallery unveiled a new mural in Globe Town, Bethnal Green on July 14. 

Installed on the side of Clynes House, Globe Town Mural by Shiraz Bayjoo is a colourful collage of archival photographs that speak to the social, cultural and religious history and contemporary character of Tower Hamlets. 

The images reflect a range of historical themes vital to the development of Tower Hamlets including political movements, industry, empire, sports and the environment. If you take a close look, you’ll notice Norah Smyth and the Suffragette movement, boxing champion Daniel Mendoza and Brick Lane’s Bengali community protesting against the National Front in the 1970s. 

The composition of these different photographs is itself a reflection of the diasporic nature of Tower Hamlets. The mural is inspired by Victorian industrial murals and contemporary Bollywood film posters. 

Bayjoo has drawn upon discussions he had with Globe Town residents in the summer of 2021. These conversations focused on the memories archival photographs prompt, and the connections that can be made to contemporary issues.  

On Globe Town Mural, Bayjoo says ‘I wanted to highlight the area’s history and far-reaching legacies… the refuge given to countless generations escaping political persecution, [and] the grassroots movements that have gone on to shape Britain and the world.’ 

Bayjoo’s design was selected by public vote. It is part of a wider council programme to improve Globe Town market square

Bayjoo is a Mauritian artist living in London. His work considers nationhood, identity and the entangled legacies of European colonialism. Bayjoo traces the history of people and places through vernacular histories, public collections and archives and critical texts. He creates paintings, photographs, installations as well as public artworks. 

In combining the voices of East Enders past and present, Bayjoo’s mural attests to the courage and resilience of our local community. On the side of a seemingly inconspicuous high street, it’s worth turning the corner and reminding yourself of the distinct and powerful character of Tower Hamlets.

If you enjoyed this, you may also like Artist Ed Gray: painting a tapestry of the East End.

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