A still from one of the faux news reports created for the project. Image: courtesy Tom Pearman

More than 600 primary pupils from across Hackney stretched their imaginations beyond earthly limits for a recent public art project inspired by UFOs.

Curated by artist Tom Pearman and funded by Arts Council England, the E8 UFO project saw students from 11 schools submit work using photographs from the Rio Cinema’s Tape and Slide archive.

The multi-faceted campaign gave pupils the opportunity to produce their own artworks in response to a brief shared with them at the start of the project, in addition to mounting a giant mural at Gayhurst Primary School.

Pearman said: “Throughout film and literature [and] science fiction we have been captivated with travelling to another inhabited planet, being visited by aliens or documenting unidentified flying objects.

“Exploring this cultural phenomenon whilst questioning our own and our distant neighbours cultural identity, the schools produced their own ‘faux’ TV and newspaper UFO reports.

“The Rio has been fantastic in allowing the use of their amazing archive!”

Local schools were given materials to create the artworks, and children were shown videos explaining what UFOs are and how to make their own unique creations, which can be seen on the E8 UFO website here.

One video, in the style of a news report, explained to the children that flying objects had been spotted over Hackney; another explained the ‘facts’ around UFOs; and the final video featured Pearman showing the children how to make their own UFO-inspired artwork.

Schools across the borough participated, including St Scholastica’s in Clapton, Randal Cremer in Hoxton and Stormont House in Hackney Downs.

The Rio Cinema currently has a display of the E8 UFO project in its foyer, and will also host participating schools for a viewing of the final results of the project in December, giving children the opportunity to see the fruits of their labour.

Pearman said: “I mostly work to commission and this is the first project I have fully curated and so hope with the success of it there will be plenty more.

“The project was a showcase of how creative professionals can collaborate on a project. I am very pleased with everybody’s hard work.

“The children responded really well to the overall idea of the project, which I am so pleased about.”

For more information, head to ufo.tompearman.co.uk/film.

Support us

The coronavirus outbreak meant that the Hackney Citizen was unable to print a monthly newspaper for three months.

We're grateful that we have since been able to resume printing. This would not have been possible without the generosity of our readers, whose donations kept the paper from disappearing completely at a distressing time for residents.

A huge thank you to everyone who gave their time and money to support us through the lockdown, and to those who continue to do so as we slowly recover from the dramatic fall in advertising revenues, on top of the existing challenges threatening the future of local journalism.

A one-off donation or a regular contribution from anyone who can afford it will help our small team keep the newspaper in print and the website running in the coming months and years.

Find out how you can donate.

Thank you for your support, and stay safe.

The Hackney Citizen team