The Making of 'CHOOSE LOVE' mural project

Two artists. Two bold + powerful murals. One positive statement of unity + shared humanity to celebrate Refugee Week 2018. 

Lakwena finishing touches (Ph: UA), Majid Adin with his mural (Ph: The Positive Journalist)

Lakwena finishing touches (Ph: UA), Majid Adin with his mural (Ph: The Positive Journalist)

Last month unfinished animals completed a special 'CHOOSE LOVE' mural project with Help Refugees- a grassroots charity that continues to do the impossible- and it was monumental!  

It all began back in February when UA met up with Help Refugees to discuss taking their 'CHOOSE LOVE' slogan out onto the London streets; the objective being to empower and inspire people with a visual positive message- instilling love and understanding as the driving emotion, and as a way of bringing people together. 

Choose love is a simple, but powerful message. At a time when the world faces many challenges; when a rhetoric of hate and division has found itself centre stage; we believe sharing this simple message has never been more vital.
— Josie, Co-founder, Help Refugees

UA collaborated with Help Refugees to conceive and produce these two murals. 

 

Mural 1 by Majid Adin- connecting a community.

Majid's completed mural on Hanbury Street opposite Help Refugees office / Second Home workspace

Majid's completed mural on Hanbury Street opposite Help Refugees office / Second Home workspace

If you find the most positive word in the world, it’s love
— Majid

It was decided the first mural would be painted by Iranian artist and refugee, Majid Adin, in the heart of Brick Lane - a street art mecca and melting pot of culture + diversity. The wall also happens to sit opposite Help Refugees office (inside Second Home workspace) so it was the perfect wall for Majid to paint his story of love and hope for fellow humans.

In any of my artworks, I want to transfer feelings of positivity and kindness, and encourage people to feel empathy for other human beings, whether it’s one person or a million. That’s the most important thing.
— Majid
 
 
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With the support of OllySTUDIO to help realise a mural of this scale, the design is Majid's visual interpretation of what 'Choose Love' has shown him throughout his journey to the UK and how that translates when depicted in the vibrant neighbourhood of Brick Lane, which in itself has endless migrant stories to tell.

Majid work in progress

Majid work in progress

Starting with a 20m canvas- which is no easy feat- the mural was completed over 8 busy days with the help of many wonderful volunteers, refugees and local school children, without whom it wouldn't have been possible. 

It doesn’t matter what age, faith, sexuality or nationality you are, when we work together and show compassion and kindness toward each other we can do brilliant things.
— Majid
Local school children help paint the mural

Local school children help paint the mural

From day 1 the mural drew interest from the local community and passers-by; people were curious to know what it would be, could it live up to expectations, and would they like it!?

The community watched the wall transform in anticipation.

Majid working with volunteers

Majid working with volunteers

And the final result...? 

Upon completion it was a true feel good moment...the mural was unveiled on a hot sunny day and standing back it was amazing to witness the almost immediate and positive response of people passing by, cyclists stopping to take a picture, groups of friends lined up and interacting with the different elements.  

 
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Majid's vision was to bring people together and celebrate our common humanity...this was felt throughout it's creation and now that ethos lives on through the mural.

Obviously art of any form is completely subjective but how could you look at this and not 'CHOOSE LOVE'!? 

Majid's mural in Timeout

Majid's mural in Timeout

 
 

Mural 2 by Lakwena - hey busy London, you are wonderful! 

Lakwena's completed mural at Southbank Centre

Lakwena's completed mural at Southbank Centre

This Refugee Week, this mural celebrates a city that’s opened its doors to all people.
— Lakwena

For the second mural, UA worked with iconic cultural venue- Southbank Centre- and commissioned internationally acclaimed artist, Lakwena, to create a huge 'CHOOSE LOVE' artwork focusing on the bold typography of acclaimed fashion designer, Katharine Hamnett, and now Help Refugees slogan. 

Lakwena on completing the mural

Lakwena on completing the mural

Lakwena’s kaleidoscopic work is informed by the use of decoration as a means of communication. As a form of expression within a political world, Lakwena explores how the use of adornment in worship and myth-making translates into contemporary popular culture. Pretty cool huh!? 

In her vibrant and graphic style, Lakwena goes about transforming this bustling urban surrounding into an environment of love and acceptance.   

Work in progress - installation to completion

Work in progress - installation to completion

Painted over 2 large shipping containers and facing out onto the surrounding Southbank streets the artwork is a direct invitation to the people of London and it's visitors, and simultaneously a bold reminder that around here 'LOVE' is the answer. 

This city is built on diversity, community and the contributions of people from all around the world. I’m really happy to be part of this project that is about choosing to be motivated by love rather than greed, comfort, or pride.
— Lakwena
Lakwena's final piece

Lakwena's final piece

Celebrating kindness, integration, understanding, community - love has many names - the mural demands that we make the right choice; reinforcing that if we can just get the driving emotion right, we can do anything. 

 
No matter where I go, what comes my way, what I gain or what I lose, I believe that 3 things will remain - faith, hope and love.
— Lakwena
 
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Work in progress

Work in progress

 

Here at unfinished animals I am extremely honoured and proud to have worked on this amazing project.

The final pieces are truly beautiful and it's been heart warming to see the public respond. 

If you find yourself in the area, please visit the murals, snap it, tag it, and (let's encourage everyone) to #ChooseLove 

Click on the link below to donate to this amazing charity. X

 

 
Me at the Brick Lane mural - final day of painting!

Me at the Brick Lane mural - final day of painting!

 

Special thanks to the artists, friends, volunteers and supporters: The Little Greene Paint Company, equip event services, Weare Art Dept, Amdec Depot. 

Follow: 

www.helprefugees.org

@helprefugeesuk

@katharinehamnett

@lakwena

@majid_adin_ma

@ollystudio