I recently put this banner on my balcony in London E14. Liz, a campaigner from the Burnhill House campaign helped make it. This blog explains how it came about.
Earlier this month, I went to visit the artist and writer, Stewart Home, on Golden Lane in London, to see the protest banners hanging from the balconies on his block.
He is protesting against plans to build a luxury apartment complex which will overshadow existing houses and a school. The banners are an exhibition, as well as protest.
I wanted to make my own banner, inspired by the global anti-harassment movement and asked for advice on how to make one.
Stewart said his banners were printed. He took me to see the original local protest banner exhibition, which is sited at Burnhill House round the corner, in St Luke’s EC1. These were made from sheets and shower curtains. The Burnhill House campaigners are also campaigning against a luxury block of flats.
As we stood looking up, one of the residents, Liz, waved from her balcony and said she was on her way out, so she spoke with us. I told her about my idea and she generously offered to help make my banner.
Liz advised me to pick a short sentence or even better, one word, something that would be easy to read from a distance. I decided FEMINISM was the best word. People would be able to read it as they passed my balcony on the DLR train. I hoped it would give people a boost.
I used a black shower curtain and mocked up my word using cut up paper. Then I outlined the letters in chalk. Liz put white gaffer tape on the letters, but the polyester material didn’t like the tape, so Liz said she would paint it. I left the curtain with her and she painted it with spray paint. She did a fantastic job.
I put the banner up that night. It felt good. It felt brilliant, in fact. The next morning I went and photographed it and then posted it online, and the response surprised me – comments like ‘I LOVE YOU!’.
A few days later, Kashif Haque came to photograph it.
Friends who live in different places told me they want a banner too. People can use a sheet, shower curtain, tape, paint, pen, anything! The more the merrier. Use cable ties to make sure the banner does’t lift up in the wind.
Another woman saw my banner and decided make her own, although she worried that people would throw eggs or tomatoes at it. It’s funny, I had that fear too, as I sketched out the letters. I decided that this self-editing fear, was all the more reason to go ahead.
I’m using my balcony to shout out to the neighbourhood and beyond, to see where that leads…
So far it has inspired someone else to make a banner, with a different slogan, and it has connected me to other comrades. Let me know if you make one too!
You can also show your solidarity with the anti overdevelopment campaigns here:
A big thanks to the fabulous Kashif Haque who came to photograph my banner.