Luton artwork Our River to remember lives lost to the Covid-19 pandemic

The huge artwork is featured in The Mall Luton podcast

By Lynn Hughes
Tuesday, 15th February 2022, 2:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th February 2022, 2:38 pm
Our River commemorates those who lost their lives in Luton during the pandemic

An artwork commemorating Lutonians lost to the pandemic is being covered in the first 2022 episode of Luton Life, The Mall Luton’s community podcast.

Our River will also mark the support and kindness shown and tell the stories of moments of joy that were found in the midst of a crisis. Keyworkers who contributed to the pandemic response will also be celebrated in the huge mosaic which will be installed on the exterior of The Mall.

In the Our River episode of Luton Life, host Sophie Sulehria explores how the mural came to be and meets some of the incredible individuals who are featured. Sophie follows Project Co-ordinator Maureen Weekes and photographer June Essex as they visit Luton & Dunstable Hospital to capture shots of NHS staff who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to care for members of the community.

Meeting Nurse Manager Carla, Sophie hears how humbled she and her team are to be recognised in such a way. Carla describes the impact of the pandemic on such a diverse community and how the experience drew so many together in the face of adversity.

The photomosaic will be displayed on the Silver Street entrance wall of The Mall, facing the new Open Lea pocket park. This area is being developed to create a reflective space beside the river, in the heart of Luton.

Roy Greening, General Manager at The Mall Luton, said: “Our River is such a fitting way to honour those lost during the pandemic and recognise the legacy of those who worked so hard to keep Luton safe. Plans were afoot for a community artwork to fill the wall space and funding was in place, and while the project was delayed by the pandemic, the outcome could not be a more fitting tribute. It has been a humbling project to be part of and we now look forward with anticipation to see the final 6,000 sqft installation.

“As a shopping centre, we had a number of stores who remained open to provide essential goods and services for the people of Luton, and they are also featured on the mosaic in recognition of their contribution to the pandemic response.

Sophie also chats with Councillor Hazel Simmons MBE, Leader of Luton Council, who describes her pride at the prospect of seeing the artwork come to life, illustrating on such a grand scale the legacy of those who gave so much and honouring the memory of those who didn’t survive. Luton Council is delivering Our River with support from the European Regional Development Fund’s Welcome Back Fund.

Listen to the podcast at Luton Life | Podcast on Spotify