Artist Evewright says Tilbury vandalism is 'physical hate crime'

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Tilbury Bridge Walkway of Memories imageImage source, EVEWRIGHT TBWM
Image caption,
Several of the 432 panes of glass where the artwork is featured have been broken

An artist who created an exhibition to honour pioneers of the Windrush generation said he felt "anger" after it was vandalised.

Evewright's Walkway of Memories at the Port of Tilbury, Essex, features more than 130 people on the walkway where passengers disembarked in 1948.

Several of the 432 panes of glass where the artwork is featured have been broken.

The artist said it had "empowered" him to continue his work.

Image source, EVEWRIGHT
Image caption,
Artist Evewright said the vandalism started on 28 August

Essex-based artist Evewright's art and sound installation was installed on 72 windows on the 55m (180ft) walkway and includes 130 images and 35 audio recordings.

Image source, EVEWRIGHT TBWM
Image caption,
The artwork was made as a celebration of the "lives" and "endeavours" of the Windrush generation said Evewright.

The panes of glass are collaged with photographs, documents, boat passenger tickets and memorabilia and more than 160 minutes of audio stories can be heard in ten-minute segments across 22 listening windows.

'Personal attack'

The artist said vandals had "indiscriminately targeted the bridge".

"This ain't going to stop me, actually it empowers me even more to keep working as an artist to try and represent the Black British experience," he said.

"We should all try and fight against it, stand up against it and speak out when we're attacked.

"To me, it was a personal attack because I am from that generation, I'm first-born... it's almost like it's a hate crime."

Image source, EVEWRIGHT TBWM
Image caption,
130 images and 35 audio recordings are along the 55-metre (180ft) walkway in Tilbury

He said the port had acted very swiftly to protect the bridge, putting extra cameras in place.

Image source, EVEWRIGHT TBWM
Image caption,
Image from the Tilbury Bridge Walkway of Memories installation

The exhibition remains open to the public but with the damage still visible.

"For me as an artist, I felt it was important to keep those strikes on the bridge... it's to let everyone know that this hate is still there in our society," he said.

Essex Police has urged anyone with information to contact them and said it would "not stand by while people commit crimes in our communities".

Supt Naomi Edwards, of the force, said: "Myself and colleagues at Essex Police were extremely saddened to hear that such a culturally and historically significant art exhibition has been subject to damage - this is unacceptable on every level.

"These offences had not been reported to Essex Police, rather they had been reported to our colleagues at the Port of London Authority Police.

"However, such is our concern at these incidents, that we are working alongside our policing colleagues to support their investigation and are undertaking enquiries to establish who may be responsible in order that we can arrest them and bring them to justice.

"I have also contacted the artist personally to offer reassurance and support."

The BBC has approached the Port of Tilbury for comment.

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