Grime artist Skepta joins Soho art exhibition launch
Artworks drew attention to knife crime, depression and gang culture
Monday, 9th April 2018 — By Helen Chapman
Lanre Olagoke, standing, with artists, from left, Sarah Owusu, Emmanuel Unaji and Koby Martin
AN exhibition raising awareness about knife crime, teenage pregnancy, depression, racism and gang culture was on display in Soho – attracting the attention of Grime artist Skepta.
The That’s Not Me rapper was at the show in Broadwick Street on Monday to see the display of four young artists: Emmanuel Unaji, Koby Martin, Sarah Owusu and Midichi.
The YOUTH ART-wareness show, was curated by Kojo Marfo, founder of My Runway, a platform for youth development and creative production.
Mr Marfo said: “Skepta came in with two of his mates and passed his number on to one of our artists, Emmanuel. He expressed his gratitude for what his artwork is doing for young people and spoke about what he’s trying to do for young people with his music too.
“He says he often walks around Soho but hasn’t seen anything like this.”
He added: “Knife crime gets a lot of media attention but that hasn’t changed the narrative on why people carry knives. It’s closer to home than people think and is not restricted to certain boroughs. It affects the community in general. We should be having these conversations at home and at school. It’s not just about being the cool guy or the aesthetic in the community because what you’re doing is going to cause someone never to have a brother again.
“People want to protect their postcodes and their groups but if you want to protect the borough it’s not protecting the people within it.”
Mr Marfo founded My Runway, which began in 2012 as a theatre group, after completing an aerospace engineering degree in Coventry. The exhibition was organised in conjunction with Lanre Olagoke, founder of Art- Alive Arts Trust based in Greek Street, helping young people find their path with art. Mr Olagoke held a four-day session with the artists in Soho helping unlock their talents.