It has been some years since I have spent time in Hyde Park. I have attended demos there over the years but I haven’t walked through for a very long time and so, of course, there are new sights to see. The one I headed for on this occasion was the memorial to the victims of the 7/7 bombing.
I enjoy seeking out the public statues that are new to me. London has so many. It is tragic to note, though, that new memorials are needed, especially given the significance of the background to this piece.
It is made of 52 pillars of steel with each one measuring 3.5m in height. They are here because on 7th July 2007 innocent Londoners were killed in bombs set off at Tavistock Square, King’s Cross, Aldgate East Tube Station and Edgware Road. The pillars are clustered in four groups to represent the different locations. There were 52 victims of the bombings. The bombers were British.
Ken Livingstone’s words from the time came back to me when I stood in front of the columns:
“I want to say one thing specifically to the world today. This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion, or whatever.”
He made his speech in Singapore where, the day before, it was revealed that London would host the 2012 Olympics. His words resonated with me then and are important still.
I hesitate over the term ‘public art’ for this piece, except that art should make us stop and think and this piece does that.