Dagenham mum tackles graffiti by painting murals on her street
PUBLISHED: 14:47 30 October 2018
A mother from Dagenham is painting the walls of her street in a bid to brighten up the area.
Tracy Drake-Tapscott, who lives in Bonham Road, said she was tired of opening her curtains every morning to see walls covered in graffiti.
Together with her neighbour, builder Marek Pitera, she decided to give the road a makeover.
“It was crumbling, it was so rotten, it looked like we lived in the slums,” the 37-year-old said.
“The litter, the smashed bottles, it was getting too much. We wanted to improve the area, and this is what I can offer.”
Tracy, who teaches art at a secondary school in Enfield, went to the council to ask for permission just before summer. After clearing it with the shopkeepers who own the wall, her and Marek began repairing and painting.
The wall is made of six panels, three of which are completed. There’s a painting of Valence House, the Essex flag, and a tribute to the Dagenham Ford women, in homage to Tracy’s Auntie Irene, one of the original strikers.
There’s also a panel which reads, ‘We love Dagenham’, which Tracy said brought the biggest challenges.
“I did the ‘We love Dagenham’ stencil first because I thought it wouldn’t take as long,” she said.
“But we got a bit disheartened with it. We got some grafitti saying ‘I hate Dagenham’.
“So we had to spend some money and get graffiti protection.”
Fortunately, there’s been no damage to the rest of the panels, and Tracy, who’s lived in the borough for six years, hopes it’ll stay that way.
“The whole point of it was to brighten up the area, make it somewhere people want to see,” she said.
“As I’ve been doing it, I’ve been meeting people. They stop and say how fantastic it is. A lady from across the road said she’d lost her mum a few weeks ago, but seeing my wall makes her smile. It’s so worth it when people say things like that.”
Tracy and Marek have spent about £400 on the wall. They’re hoping to finish by December, in time to make it a Christmas present for Dagenham.