Art Against Knives

I popped up Brick Lane today to see some friends and stumbled accross an art show in Box Park for "Art Against Knives". I feel embarrassed that I had never heard about this until now, but is an amazing charity and was very inspiring.

I have attached a few photos and copied some text from their website 

"Art Against Knives is a youth-led charity which works to reduce the root causes of knife crime through arts initiatives that provide an alternative to violent gang culture.

AAK was born from the tragic and unprovoked stabbing of Oliver Hemsley, a 21-year-old student from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art & Design. The vicious attack, which has left Oliver in a wheelchair, took place in Shoreditch, East London, in August 2008. It is the impact of this that drives Art Against Knives to create something positive from such a life-changing experience.

Art Against Knives began life as an exhibition organised by Oliver’s friends and fellow Central Saint Martin’s students. The exhibition quickly swelled to become the most exciting art event London had seen for years with work donated by the likes of Antony Gormley, Tracey Emin, Wolfgang Tillmans, Rankin, Tim Walker, Vivienne Westwood, Giles Deacon, Christopher Kane, Banksy, Polly Morgan, Cornelia Parker and Ron Arad, as well as scores of CSM students and artists from the East End. We managed to get all of the national newspapers to run our award-winning advert for free (ad agency Leagas Delaney helped us put the ear back on Vincent Van Gogh, courtesy of Samuel Courtauld Trust), all of the billboards in London to run details of the event and a star studded guest-list of support. Held at Shoreditch House, the auction was conducted by Sotheby’s, alongside Jonny Woo. It was covered by publications including The Evening Standard, The Independent, The London Paper, Vogue, Dazed & Confused and Wonderland.

What Happened Next. Originally conceived as a one-off to raise money and awareness we soon realised that the overwhelming support from the press, the fashion and art industry and the general public couldn’t be contained in a single event.

We have spent the time since the exhibition collaborating on creative projects with Blood, Sweat & Fears, Lovebox, ArtBarter, Honda’s The Dream Factory and filmmakers The Double to continue to raise awareness of the issues surrounding knife crime.

But by no means has it all been glam.

We are working with several partners to drill down and really understand the true causes of violent knife crime and have spent the last twelve months conducting research, workshops and actively participating in the community.

We have also spent our time planning the growth and development of Art Against Knives, and working out exactly what it is that we can do to reduce the root causes of knife crime. "

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