ART AGAINST KNIVES works with at-risk young people living in areas of London affected by knife crime and facilitates creative opportunities to help them secure employment, education or training.
ART AGAINST KNIVES was born from the unprovoked stabbing of Oliver Hemsley, a 21-year-old student from Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design. The attack, which has left Oliver in a wheelchair, took place in Shoreditch (East London) in August 2008. ART AGAINST KNIVES life as an exhibition organised by Oliver’s friends and fellow Central Saint Martin’s students to raise money and awareness a year after he was attacked. The event gained support from some of the biggest names in art and fashion with work donated by Tracey Emin, Rankin, Antony Gormley,Tim Walker, Christopher Kane, and Banksy, amongst others. The event instigated a dialogue between London’s creative community and the most deprived boroughs in London, and provided ART AGAINST KNIVES with the unique position of understanding both sides of the local community. As an organisation we were able to engage with both those who need support and those wanting to make a difference.
Charitable activities began as creative community projects with a focus on providing young people with a voice, and a positive way to express the social problems they face. The ART AGAINST KNIVES GALLERY in Boxpark, provided both visibility and a sustained way for the creative community to continue their support. The gallery was successful in establishing ART AGAINST KNIVES as a credible charity that appealed to appropriate partners and most importantly the young people that we strived to support.
“I used to be a criminal and had money, but no future. Now I just have my student loan but all I do is create and support other young people thanks to ART AGAINST KNIVES.” John, Volunteer
For 3 years we have worked alongside young people. We have learnt first hand the devastating effects of knife crime on the individual, their families and the wider community. We have talked to some of those most affected and offered them the opportunity to create solutions, and provided the platform to help ensure their perspectives understood. Find out more about WHAT WE DO