REMEMBERING STEPHEN LAWRENCE: DOREEN LAWRENCE
UNVEILS NEW DOUBLE PORTRAIT AT UNIVERSITY OF GREENWICH
A double portrait of Stephen and Doreen Lawrence has been unveiled at a new gallery dedicated to Stephen Lawrence at the Woolwich Campus of the University of Greenwich. At an opening ceremony also attended by Spice Girl Mel B, Mrs Doreen Lawrence, who is a part-time student at the university, unveiled the painting, entitled ‘Mother and Child Reunion’. The work, by London artist Jennifer Lewis, features the faces of Stephen and his mother, Doreen, surrounded by richly textured patterns and colours. It will be on permanent display at the university as a memorial to Stephen.
Mrs Lawrence says: "The gallery is in memory of my son, Stephen, and it is in recognition of his short life. I see Stephen’s name as helping to provide hope and the opportunity that could unite all the races and cultures in our society. The works of Jennifer Lewis symbolise and encourage young artists to promote change. I was struck by the artist's sensitivity and her ability to use visual art to express her inner feelings on canvas. I am happy that Jennifer has decided to incorporate the colour orange in her work, as that has become a symbol in memory of Stephen."
Two striking features with a personal touch have been created within the gallery by designer Tunde Shoderu, who was introduced to the project by one of Stephen Lawrence’s closest friends, Elvin Oduro. The etched glass entrance sign to the gallery uses Stephen’s signature and Tunde has built a set of furniture in the shape of Stephen’s initials. An elegantly curved bar has a distinctive S shape and a long low bench is angled in the stylised shape of the letter L. Tunde says: "I suggested that the space should not be clinical or unfriendly; I wanted a gallery which did not rely on just the paintings themselves for colour."
The gallery was the initiative of Paul Stigant, Dean of the Woolwich
Faculty at the University of Greenwich. He says: "Doreen was a
student here at the University of Greenwich when Stephen was brutally
murdered and I felt that it was right for the university to remember what
had happened and also to honour Doreen and what she has achieved in the
years that followed." The university went on to work in close
partnership with Mrs Lawrence and a group of local people in order to
establish the gallery, which will provide a showcase for the work of
contemporary artists. It will also explore multiculturalism in the visual
Jennifer Lewis’s portrait of Stephen and Doreen, measures 4’6"
x 2’6" and uses her favoured medium of acrylic on canvas, with the
addition of gouache and gold leaf. Jennifer worked from her own photos of
Doreen and some previously unpublished photos of Stephen from the Lawrence
family album. "Doreen encouraged me to focus on Stephen’s favourite
colour, orange, which had been chosen for the ribbon that many people wear
in his memory and to campaign for justice," says Jennifer.
Paul Stigant says: "The university wishes to thank Jennifer Lewis, Kelly O’Reilly and Tunde Shoderu who together had the vision for this gallery and who have put in an enormous amount of effort to make it happen. We would also like to thank Lesley Gaye, who built the fittings; Deborah Finlay of Rainmaker PR, who won sponsorship for the glass sign, Steve Sirkin of Tile Depot who supplied the ceramic flooring and Marks & Spencer who supported the launch."
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