Djofray pictured with Jas Athwal, leader of Redbridge Council and some of the young people from Hainault Youth Centre with whom he co-created the artwork. Photography by David Mirzoeff
Out of this World, 2022
Billboard installed outside SPACE Ilford
Djofray Makumbu co-created SPACE Ilford’s billboard commission for 2022 with young people from Hainault Youth Centre (Redbridge Youth Services). The piece imagines a fun, alternative version of their borough.
The giant artwork was installed outside the gallery at SPACE Ilford, at the rear of Redbridge Town Hall. Inspired by the local area of Redbridge, the young people imagined a parallel universe, where unicorns fly, people grow butterfly wings and aliens have landed on the roof of the Town Hall. Their drawings represent the diversity of their neighbourhoods, and the billboard is an inclusive and joyful vision of life in Redbridge in the 21st century.
The artwork was created during a series of workshops held at Hainault Youth Centre with Djofray Makumbu. The youth centre participants created and illustrated the characters and provided the art direction for the work.
Djofray said: “I have been working on this billboard for a year. This was a new experience for me to work on this scale – it was such a great opportunity to work on a billboard. It was incredibly inspiring working with the kids at the youth centre, because I ended up hearing ideas and perspectives I had never thought of or seen before, and got the chance to incorporate these into the piece.
I showed an early draft of the design to the young people and they threw out all sorts of new ideas and suggestions, such as the character flying on a unicorn. I would never have thought of these things, so it was great to incorporate their ideas too.
The young people drew pictures for me to go off and use as a reference, and I worked them into the final design. It was a really collaborative process – to hear their opinion and what they see and think the piece should look like. I think that really comes through in the final piece.”