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Turner Prize winner helps out with new railway bridge mural

Artwork from A-Level students to spruce up unloved crossing

12 December, 2019 — By Dan Carrier

IT is an unloved and litter-strewn railway bridge, decorated only with messy graffiti. But now the link crossing the Overground tracks in Kentish Town is set to become a new landmark, boasting cutting-edge contemporary art.

The bridge from Ingestre Road to Churchill Road in Dartmouth Park has been lined up for a spruce-up using work from A-level art students at La Swap with help from the Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger. They have been collaborating for the past six months to create a new, 30-metre long piece of mural celebrating the neighbourhood.

The final design is under wraps but is due to be installed next year on aluminium sections.

It will be treated with an anti-graffiti coating. Mr Wallinger is known for his piece Ecce Homo, which was displayed on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, and his installation in Tate Britain. He joined the students as part of a scheme run by charity Artists In Residence, which gives schools the opportunity to have an artist work with pupils.

Student Brandon Caiza told the New Journal: “We wanted to look at the landmarks in our community. Our idea was a map with places people will recognise.” Student Ivy Berry said: “The bridge definitely needs some attention – it is covered in tags and graffiti. It is a bit of an eyesore but it is so well used every day.” The bridge was rebuilt by Network Rail two years ago but has attracted anti-social behaviour more recently.

Student Ivy Phillips said: “We all loved the old bridge and we hope this artwork will improve it so we can love it again.”

The project is set to be part funded by a donation from the York Rise Street Party and the organisers hope the balance for the project could come from the Town Hall’s Community Investment Levy, which uses funds from developers to improve neighbourhoods.

Mr Wallinger said: “The students were up for it from the off. We realised how important the bridge is. The students have been so open and creative and it has been a real treat for me.”

He said that art in the curriculum was vital, adding: “You cannot simply treat young people as nothing other than economic units. If you look around the world, the education systems that really work have the arts at their centre. The arts are about becoming more rounded people and finding joy in life. It should be at the heart of every school.”

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