Artist speaks of E17 obsession and love affair with Walthamstow (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Artist speaks of E17 obsession and love affair with Walthamstow
An artist currently staging an exhibition inspired by the pop band E17 has spoken of her love affair with the 90s boyband.
Nicki Carvell, 30, moved to London from Hemel Hempstead to be closer to the post code from which the group took its name.
She said her show, Peace from East 17, expresses the band’s enduring cultural significance to the area.
East 17’s debut album, Walthamstow, sold 1.8million copies in the UK and East 17 have sold 18million records worldwide.
From the iconic greyhound stadium to the bustling market, Walthamstow became a “fantasy place” for Ms Carvell when she discovered the band aged 12.
Despite their success, East 17 have maintained their connection with the area and, according to Ms Carvell, have become embedded in Walthamstow’s collective psyche.
Ms Carvell said: “I was always surprised coming in from the suburbs that Walthamstow is residential, but like its own town.”
However, Ms Carvell said she would love to move to the area, but cannot afford it due to a recent 34 per cent surge in house prices and currently resides in Tottenham.
She said: “This happens all the time to artists.
“Artists move in, make the area cool and then are priced out.
For Ms Carvell, the Peace from East 17 exhibition taps into what she describes as the “renaissance” of British 1990s culture.
She said: “I don’t think it is just nostalgia, it feels like now and there’s been nothing that has lived up since. It is just amazing music, powerful and uplifting.”
In interviews, East 17 joked about how Walthamstow is perceived as rough, grimy east London but Ms Carvell believes it has a strong community.
She said: “That is why the council gave me this space to use for two weeks - to encourage the local community.”
Ms Carver said none of the members of E17 have visited the show, which features graphic designs, prints, t-shirts and cushions.
Peace From East 17 opened on Friday at the council’s pop-up shop at 137 Hoe Street, Walthamstow. It is open from midday until 6pm and closes on Tuesday.
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