The Angel of the Lee Valley returns
17th October 2012 18:20:46
The Angel of the Lee Valley returned briefly to Leyton Marsh, in East London, this week. It was a moving experience for those of us who took part, as its return was marked in a personal meaningful way.
A small gathering of environmentally aware people with their families watched the Angel, Guardian of the Marsh, in a short film that documented the making of Denise Wyllie’s monumental land art drawing. Local cyclists brought their bikes to power the generator for the films open-air screening.
The Angel of the Lee Valley and its friends aim is to return the marshland to its previous common land status and natural bio-diverse grasslands, full of native flowers. This is in stark contrast to the Olympic Development Agency who built a temporary basketball venue on it. This building is being removed now, but scars remain – on the marsh and on the people who know and love this special place.
The determined idealism and toughness of the local people acting as custodians of the marsh – local residents, dog walkers, cyclists, artists and poets - shone out in the dark evening. A circle of candlelight surrounded everyone and cheers greeted the flickering Angel onscreen.
The intimacy and poignancy of the occasion was noticeably heightened as the group was sited alongside the barriered common land, where heavy mechanical diggers burrowed into the earth lit by police vehicle headlights that occupied the space.
The creation of the Olympics in London has left a heavy bootmark on the common land of Leyton Marsh. The activists doing their duty as protectors of the marsh have been maligned, demonized and criminalized in their efforts to protect it. They are made of stern stuff. Their activism on the marsh holds the same fire of the campaigners who helped create the NHS, got votes for women, provided decent housing and education for their children.
We thank them.
We thank them for looking after the marsh, for keeping it safe for local people. A simple walk along the marsh can make life more meaningful and bearable. It gives us who live in this city a space to breathe and enjoy a bit of peace.
Wyllie O Hagan
To find out how to support Leyton Marsh follow this link
To see an extract from the Angel of the Lee Valley film follow this link
To keep up to date with the Angel events join the Facebook Angel of the Lee Valley Page
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