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WickED Arts Festival
August 20, 2013
This weekend it was the Hackney WickED Arts Festival, an annual event which is in its sixth year. It is an entirely free festival, featuring art exhibits, live theatre, music, craft stalls and food and drink, taking place over three days. It is spread across various locations, all accessible from Hackney Wick overground station, but the main ‘hub’ is in Queen’s Yard.
A complimentary wristband collected from an information point next to the station ensures entry, and a detailed leaflet containing all the events and their times across the weekend can also be picked up. It makes it very easy to plan a programme for the day that ensures everything that piques your interest is seen.
The walk from the station is perked up with colourful chalk graffiti displayed on huge brick walls, and urban art style signs are mismatched along fencing and across gateways.
In the main yard are lots of stalls and pop-up shops, selling an unusual collection of wares which this year included tiki style reed
mats and pottery that was being made on site. There was also jewellery crafted from old bits of metal and screws, and there was the opportunity to have a black and white mugshot style photograph taken and put in a frame. The food stalls were selling international cuisine such as deep friend risotto balls, rotisserie chicken sandwiches, homebaked macaroons, brownies and cookies.
To one side is a big disused warehouse, where artists studios are open across 5 floors that can be leisurely perused. This year work could be seen by names such as Kat Koch, Rossen Daskalov who makes wooden scuptures of human bodies, Adrian Navarro with his iconic paintings of spots on coloured backgrounds, potter Bridget Lennon, and Endri Kosturi who creates black panels on canvas which he then scratches away to reveal bright colours hidden underneath, as well as copious others which changed throughout the day.
The majority of artists whose studios are open are there in person to chat to, and are very happy to speak about their inspiration, and inform of any exhibitions coming soon. On the top floor is a makeshift cinema, which had fake grass to sit on and deckchairs, whilst mini films and theatre pieces are played on a pull down piece of canvas.
On the ground floor there is an open room which has theatre shorts being performed live. One which seemed to have a lot of audience attention this time around was a ‘holiday experience’ which asked members of the public to sit in deck chairs on a ‘beach’ with headphones on, whilst they were shown placards directing them to do certain actions. It reiterated the diversity of art forms that are out there, and was a good way to include visitors in the action.
If a break is needed after looking around, there is a selection of bars with a vast array of ales and ciders on offer, some which are brewed locally, and there are also stonebaked pizzas for sale (that can be made vegan or gluten free). There is also the option of enjoying beverages whilst sat in boats on the canal.
It is something different to do of a daytime, that is refreshing and informative, and gives the opportunity to see up and coming artists from the area at work. There was a diverse mixture of people there, from groups of students to families with small children, and couples to lone fellow artists. The atmosphere was welcoming and there was something for everyone to enjoy, with live music and DJs continuing until late in the evening. A great reccomendation for next year!
Information available at: hackneywicked.co.uk
By Sophia Miles