Tower Hamlets rounds up Bangladesh@50 celebrations with new public artwork


Tower Hamlets Council is bringing its Bangladesh@50 celebrations to a close with a newly refurbished Banglatown Arch and a brand new mural on Brick Lane, as Bangladesh’s Independence Day approaches.

The existing Banglatown Arch has been renovated, as part of a package of improvements which includes improved signage, wayfinding, and lighting to increase footfall and support local business.

An adjacent wall at 14 Brick Lane has been painted by the international artist, Mohammed Ali MBE, paying tribute to fifty years of Bangladeshi independence.

Tower Hamlets Council has been marking the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence with a range of events throughout 2021 to celebrate the role and contributions of the Bangladeshi community in the borough. The celebrations continue with this new artwork on Brick Lane, and with new bilingual signage recently installed at Whitechapel Station.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said:

“Brick Lane and Banglatown are hugely symbolic and important parts of Tower Hamlets, and we hope the mural will provide a lasting memorial to Bangladesh’s independence. I hope too, that by restoring the arch to its former glory and improving navigation, we’ll see the return of visitors – old and new – to this exciting and important part of London.”

The arch and mural were funded from Tower Hamlets’ council’s High Street Team, which began work on regenerating Brick Lane in 2017.

From 2018-20, the team spoke to residents, businesses, visitors, councillors, and landowners to develop ideas with architects, artists and lighting designers. The improved proposals were then consulted on from October to December 2020.

Designs for the mural were consulted on from July to August 2021, with the winning artist announced in August 2021.

Cllr Motin Uz-Zaman, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Work, Economic Growth and Faith said:

“Many will be aware of the fascinating history of Brick Lane, including its association with new arrivals, and most recently the Bangladeshi diaspora. By restoring the arch, and installing this mural, we are cementing this association and inviting others to explore this link whilst adding another layer to its incredibly rich history.”

The artist who originally designed the arch was brought back to update and breathe new life into her design.

Cllr Sabina Akhtar, Cabinet Member, for Culture, Arts and Sport, said:

“Brick Lane has a great reputation as a destination for both visitors and local people. The new permanent artwork, next to the new look Banglatown Arch, is a great addition which celebrates the rich Bangladeshi art, culture and history of the area.”