David Adjaye reveals memorial for black woman shot by police in Brixton
Adjaye Associates, the practice founded by David Adjaye in 2000, will begin construction on the memorial for Cherry Groce in a few weeks.
Set on in Windrush Square in south London, it will include a planted roof that will shelter public benches. Its triangular-shaped plinth will have seating at different heights carved into all three sides.
A sturdy column on one corner will support another triangular structure, which will overhand the benches from sun and rain and will have sides engraved with Groce’s name.
Ensuring her memorial, which was endowed by the Cherry Groce Foundation, would benefit the people of Brixton was imperative to the project, said Adjaye.
“The construction of this memorial will speak to restorative justice and will symbolise that what matters to the community, matters to London and the whole world,” he said.
“This tragedy went too long in the public realm without acknowledgement and there is now renewed urgency and importance in finally facing this history,” he added.
Groce, a black woman, was shot in front of her children in her house in Brixton on 28 September 1985. She was paralysed by the attack, suffering ill health and needing decades of care from her family before she died of complications from her injuries in 2011.
At the time, the police shooting sparked the 1985 uprising against institutional racism in the London borough of Brixton. The Metropolitan police force eventually issued an apology for their actions in 2014. The raid was targeted at one of Groce’s children, who did not live there.
Groce’s memorial will be inaugurated with a ceremony on the 35th anniversary of the attack.
“The 35th anniversary of my Mum’s shooting is a poignant time for our community,” said her son Lee Lawrence.
“Over the years and despite all odds, we as a community have never faltered in our pursuit for justice,” added Lawrence, who was 11 years old when he witnessed his mother being shot in their home.
“Whilst we still face enormous challenges, coupled with the impact of a pandemic, our plans for the memorial remain firm. The memorial will serve as a living legacy to a woman who never doubted the power of truth nor the spirit of community.”
In 2019 Adjaye Associates designed a memorial pavilion for Hugh Masekela, the black South African jazz musician who wrote anti-apartheid songs.
Adjaye was one of the architects who declared “black lives matter” on social media following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in the USA. He reposted a photo of a burning building from the unrest that followed the killing.
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