200 nationalities 1 NHS

This Paint the Change UK project, celebrating the diversity of the NHS – as people from more 200 nationalities are part of it – was created during a 6 month period. Paint the Change engages activally with communities, normally through workshops resulting in street art pieces. When Lockdown happened, ATMA started Paint the Change weekly instagram sessions with Efe Ezekiel, inviting members of the public to create a flower to celebrate the NHS diversity. Each flower would represent a nationality, a story. He created a digital mock up of the project on Buckingham palace first, adding more flowers every week as he received them, building up a “flower bank”. The goal was to eventually create a real mural, but in the meantime, keeping the audience engaged. Every week, visual artists from all disciplines (painters, sculptors, illustrators, designers, etc…) were invited to showcase their technique to inspire the public and contributed with a flower as well. Eventually, as lockdown eased, Paint the Change secured the Rich Mix front building in Shoreditch, which is an award winning feature wall composed of aluminium panels that can be opened to let the light through. The challenge started there.

136 panels of various sizes were going to be the final canvas of this mural. As the panels could not be technically painted, the choice of stickers arose. We partnered with Imaginators, a printing company specialised in large scale production and created a final grid for the artwork, respecting the size of each column and gaps between each panel, vertically and horizontally. The final artwork, composed of 226 flowers, could be created to the perfect size and specs. Each panel would be printed individually and labelled in an organised way for the height specialist installation team from All Areas Access to deliver the piece. They hung from the ceiling on ropes, cleaned each panel and applied each sticker.

The result is an ever evolving printed mural, as sometimes certain panels are open, and reveal the full artwork when they close. A vibrant, alive piece of public art, brightening East London, and celebrating creativity and diversity, as it’s created using artworks from members of the public.

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