Chad McCail’s new mural opens at Valence House

Tuesday, 28 October 2014


After a summer of working in collaboration with residents of Barking & Dagenham, we are pleased to announce that artist Chad McCail has now completed his new mural for the Becontree Estate. To mark the occasion we hosted a free family friendly celebration day at Valence House, the location of the mural on Saturday 25 October 2014.

Through the new artwork McCail has represented a multi-layered history of the Becontree Estate informed by his many conversations with local people, many of which took place in the studio he set up at Valence House. McCail painted the mural during October 2014 with the vital assistance of a group of local volunteers, some of whom kindly gave scores of hours to the project.

The internal structure of the work is a winding Becontree street, painted in McCail’s flat, graphic technique. In the foreground he represents the changing minutiae of day to day life for example the first inhabitants with the clear signs of the ravages of poverty and WW1, the arrival of Ford Motors followed by it’s rapid departure, the impact of Right to Buy in the 1980’s had on the frontages of houses and significant cultural and political events such as Gandhi’s visit to Kingsley Hall. Also included in the mural are the personal stories of early and current residents of the estate, as well as depictions of local people McCail has met throughout his time in the borough.

Admission to Valence House Museum, Archives and Local Studies Centre is free and opening hours are Monday to Saturday 10am to 4pm (except public holidays). Full address and travel advice can be found here.

This new work of public art is part of our This Used to be Fields project, a new digital archive of photos and stories from people of the Becontree Estate. Visit the Historypin website to explore the archive and find out how to share and contribute your memories of the area.

This Used to be Fields is a collaborative project delivered by Historypin and Create. The project has been commissioned by the Barbican, with funding from the Arts Council of England and additional support from Creative Barking and Dagenham.

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