Sahra Hersi Billboard Commission

2019 – 2021
Free & open to all
SPACE Ilford

For our first public art commission at SPACE Ilford, artist and architect Sahra Hersi created a large-scale illustration based on her childhood home. Hersi was raised in one of these four terraced houses on Vicarage Lane in Ilford, less than a mile from SPACE Ilford.

Hersi is interested in the political, cultural and personal conditions that affect how homes are designed as well as how we inhabit and share spaces. For the artwork, the artist has depicted three versions of herself surrounding the home she grew up in to speak about how spaces and locations shape us. For many, this sense of connection to where you are from is bone-deep and inseparable from who you are.

Thinking of the home and the self as united, typically the interior private space holds one’s desires, beliefs and thoughts concealed behind a façade of brick and glass. In this instance, Hersi has aesthetically shifted this standard social housing exterior to represent interior elements of herself: memory and personality. This project is Hersi’s most autobiographical work to date and can be read with nostalgia and separation, looking back and forward at the same time. Presented publicly at a moment of change for Ilford — with development increasing and Crossrail scheduled to arrive — Hersi acknowledges that places rarely stay the same.

Sahra Hersi graduated from the Royal College of Art Architecture programme in 2017. Her practice explores shared spaces, the public realm, collaboration and community engagement. Her work is often born out of engaging with local communities and the spaces they occupy.

This site for public art is commissioned by SPACE to create visibility for artists based in the London Borough of Redbridge.