London celebrations

Jack Petchey Foundation youth-led art exhibition opens with art from London and Essex

a new exhibition curated by the Jack Petchey Foundation arrives at Poplar Union, Tower Hamlets celebrating the creative work of young people during the pandemic. The pieces were submitted to the Foundation’s Forward to the Future competition, which asked young people to explore what the future might look like through any creative medium.

36 creative pieces will be on display in the Poplar Union arts and community center and open to the public throughout April. Visitors will be able to discover the exhibition from 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. on weekdays.

The Forward to the Future competition was organized by the Jack Petchey Foundation in July 2021 to celebrate the birthday of its founder, Sir Jack Petchey. To celebrate Sir Jack’s 96th birthday, the Foundation asked young people from London and Essex to submit any creative piece exploring a positive vision of what life might look like in 96 years, the year 2117.

The competition received an impressive 166 entries of creative works spanning art, poetry, video, spoken word, sculpture and more. These entries were then shortlisted and the winners chosen by a group of young people. All shortlisted entries must be presented at this public exhibition.

Gabriel May, Head of Grants at the Jack Petchey Foundation, said, “It’s so important to encourage and celebrate the creativity of young people. The pandemic has been a difficult time to stay positive about the future, and we wanted to encourage young people to explore the inspiring future world they want to see and build. We are delighted to work with the wonderful team at Poplar Union to bring this exhibition together, created by young people for young people.

Paolo Fiorentini, Creative Director and Curator of Poplar Union: “The entries in ‘Forward to the Future’ have an optimistic vision and an uplifting spirit in response to these difficult times. Creativity should be an essential part of our well-being, as it enriches and opens up opportunities. Providing a platform for young people to show their inventiveness is essential for our organization. It is encouraging that the long months of confinement have not prevented creativity from being such a vital outlet for recovery and positive vision.

The competition was won by a group from WAC Arts, a Belsize Park-based charity that works with young people to give them the life skills that only the arts can provide, who created the video game Shadowtopia with sound, visuals, story and user. experiment designed by young people. In second place, Maryam Ahmed for her poem 96 years later and in third place Mateusz Zygmunt for a work of visual art from the future.

Members of the public wishing to attend the exhibition should visit the Poplar Union website: