We are delighted to announce that queer artist Al Hill has been commissioned to produce a collaborative outdoor art installation as part of the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival. 

Al Hill (he/they) is a trans non-binary artist and activist living and making in South London. Al’s work seeks to unpick teachings around traditionally feminine techniques such as sewing, embroidery, quilting and weaving (things that are typically taught to girls from a young age) to read new trans inclusive narratives into those historical processes. Through the use of craftivism he works these techniques in his visual activism that reaches other trans people. 

Mark Delacour, METRO’s Director of External Affairs, explains, “We are very excited to be collaborating with Greenwich+Docklands International Festival again this year which, due to the pandemic, is taking a different direction from previous years.  

This year, our outdoor installation will be created using the strands made by our service users, supporters, staff and volunteers and then formed into an artwork by Al. We are looking forward to seeing the finished result, which should be a colourful addition to Dial Arch Square and a powerful and diverse statement of strength and togetherness.” 

Al Hill said, "I am very excited to be collaborating with Metro Charity on this project. I will be running workshops where I will explain how you can upcycle old clothing or fabric scraps into plaits, perfect for this artwork! By using craft, I hope to create therapeutic safe spaces, where we are free to be ourselves and create something beautiful from it.

My artistic practice is continually informed by the queer community of which I am apart of. The weaving of the plaits will demonstrate the togetherness and diversity of the Metro and LGBT+ community even in these times. The plaits will be installed on a couple of trees in Dial Arch Square, where it hopes to be bright, welcoming and accessible.

I can't wait to collaborate with participants in the Metro community, and curate this large-scale artwork and I hope to see you soon!"

The idea for the installation is based on the concept created by Gratte Ciel of a Togetherness Plait. Weaving is a way of expressing connections and togetherness, the individual strands woven together to form a tighter bond - a beautiful metaphor about how we are stronger together. 

METRO’s installation will join a series of woven displays by different community groups as part of the festival in Woolwich on Sunday 30th August 2020. If you would like to contribute your own plait to be a part of the installation, you can email us and we will send out further information. 

Find out more about Al's work on their website.