Dec 5 2012 By Jane Harrison
A CHAMPION of young people has nominated an Ealing mural artist for an award celebrating peaceful actions.
The London Peace Prize is the brainchild of Charlie Wiseman, who wants to recognise efforts to unite communities after the riots swept the capital last summer.
The latest recipient is Hanwell artist Peter Jonas, who inspires young people through community art projects.
The Westcott Crescent resident last year painted a mural in the Copley Close Estate with the help of youngsters aged from four to 19.
He said: “The community really pulled together and it’s really respected by people on the estate. There’s no graffiti, which is really surprising. It illustrates if you give kids the opportunity to express themselves creatively they will make sure it’s looked after.”
Mr Jonas has also taken Acton teenagers to paint a mural outside Wembley Stadium and plans to work with Northolt High students to create a mural on a scruffy wall near the school.
“The mural projects seem to be the thing everybody recognises,” he said. “We do it in the half-terms when kids are off. It keeps them out of trouble and it’s a great outlet for them.
“They love doing it and they immerse themselves in it.
“We involve kids from local high schools and that’s something I want to continue doing.
“I hope Charlie’s award will engender more support.”
Mr Jonas, who trained as an art teacher in his home town of Cape Town, South Africa, is also production designer and co-producer of an environmental short film to be shot in Perivale Wood next spring.
He and his partner, Sina Bowyer, are looking for donations to help build a tree house set in ancient woodland, which will be used as a canopy hide by school children long after filming.
Ann Pavett was the first London Peace Prize winner after stepping down as editor of Neighbours’ Paper this summer. As leader of Ealing Arts Centre she helped set up West Ealing art initiative Open Ealing in 2010.
Mr Wiseman, of Leighton Road, Hanwell, has worked on grassroots theatre projects from Brazil to New York and most recently with a group of girls in Croydon, and plans to extend the pilot award across London.
He said: “I first came up with it after the riots. I want to recognise people that do stuff in the community and create peaceful actions. It was so galling to see that happening, especially when many young people are trying to get their lives together. They all get tarred with the same brush which is so frustrating.
“I’ve always been interested in how art can inspire more peaceful community activities. It’s astonishing to see how young people can change when they have something to give.”
For more information, visit www.londonpeaceprize.com.