The glass DLR Bridge at Poplar station may seem an unusual location for an art exhibition but in many ways it represents a unique connection between Poplar and Canary Wharf. The artwork was created by the SPLASH Arts (South Poplar and Limehouse Action for Secure Housing) Team led by David Bratby who worked with over 350 adults and children across the local Community in Poplar, Tower Hamlets College, Crossrail and Canary Wharf to develop the new art installation.
Artists Karine Gullino, Laura Napier and Anita Ellis facilitated sessions whilst Wylfried Tondelier brought all the pieces together to create the final exhibition which highlights the Docklands strong maritime heritage. The East India Company were based in Blackwall and established a chapel on Poplar High Street 360 years ago.
The historical trade routes created by the company connected many parts of the world and much of the artwork reflect the ships, cargoes and the people. One of the remarkable aspects of this part of docklands is that it has developed connections with all parts of the world for centuries which led to a global outlook and attracted people from all around the world.
One of the aims of the project is to connect the four communities of Poplar High Street, Tower Hamlets College, Canary Wharf and Crossrail. In many ways the creation of Aspen Way roadway cut off Poplar from the Docks area which it had always been associated with. The creation of the DLR reconnected the transport links between Poplar and the West India Docks and the Glass Bridge footbridge provided the ability to walk across from Poplar to Canary Wharf.
The exhibition is part of wider project to develop connections between local communities and the Canary Wharf estate. The exhibition is an interesting attempt to look at the past to create connections in the present and the future and will be in place until 2016.