When make:good spoke to local people in Spring 2016, the idea of creating something special out of the Bridge to celebrate local identity and creative talent was one of their top priorities.
We brought local arts initiative 7 Bridges on board to collaborate with the design and we are thrilled with the result. The local artists from the project and our signwriting team have now finished the bridge on Loughborough Road and it looks AMAZING!
The concept for the bridge was developed with Walter Reed and a team of 10 local artists as part of the 7 Bridges project. Their ambitious, arts-led regeneration plan is to transform all of the bridges in Loughborough Junction into works of art that celebrate connectivity with different cultures and continents. We are really pleased to have been able to help bring them closer to that goal! For 7 Bridges this is actually only the first phase of the design for this bridge and they are seeking funding to involve more artists in creating works for the walls either side under the bridge.
Inspired by the patterns make:good created in school workshops and the area’s strong African and Caribbean heritage, to tie in with the 7 bridges wider plan, the local steering group, make:good and 7 Bridges decided to make this the ‘Mama Africa’ bridge.
The visual concept, which begins on the underside and spills up either flank of the bridge, is a family tree. This is inspired by the theory that all of mankind can be traced through mitochondrial DNA back to one woman in Africa. This theory may only come from one school of scientific thought, but we think it also reflects a wonderful, much needed, message that there is far more to unite us as humans than there is to divide us.
The lettering on the south face was designed by make:good. It is inspired by patterns and geometric forms found in contemporary African fabric designs, much like those sold in ‘Frikal fabrics’, located under the bridge!
An African proverb, given to us by a local participant, is written on the north face of the bridge. It reads: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ This message really reflects what we have tried to do in the area: involving people might take a little longer but should bring people together.
Local people told us they wanted something on the bridge that felt unique in order to celebrate and boost the area’s identity. We hope we have achieved this with lettering that was created specially for it, in collaboration with a locally driven concept and work of art.