Three years ago, when we featured his You Are Enough project, we knew we’d be seeing more of British-born Ghanaian artist Dreph and sure enough, his latest work is positioned prominently on a street in the nation’s best loved soap, EastEnders.
As cameras rolled once again, following the lockdown lift, a new addition to the EastEnders Walford landscape was visible – a wall mural of a Black woman painted by the talented artist, that will become a permanent backdrop to many storylines when the show returns to screens later this year.
Nottingham-born Dreph, whose real name is Neequaye Dsane, is best known for his large-scale murals and oil paintings that can be found across the world – and his subjects range from strangers to friends and family and are often a tribute to living unsung heroes and heroines.
Painted directly onto the wall of the Walford-set house over several days by visual artist Dreph, the mural measures 5×2 metres in size and was completed ahead of cast and crew returning to work.
Dreph’s You Are Enough project in 2017, saw the artist go London wide with a series of portraits of Black women – paying tribute to friends who were doing amazing things for their communities and society at large. He lives and works in London and is an illustration lecturer at Portsmouth University.
I’m so pleased that EastEnders has found a way to reflect modern day UK in a time when so many of us are finding ways to voice anti-racism and I’m so happy that my work will become the backdrop to future storylines in the show.”
Dreph comments: “The opportunity to have my artwork on the set as a permanent feature, having the same impact as my work has on the streets of London, was a really exciting opportunity. I remember watching the very first EastEnders episode three decades ago, so I was really surprised to hear from the team! I’m so pleased that EastEnders has found a way to reflect modern day UK in a time when so many of us are finding ways to voice anti-racism and I’m so happy that my work will become the backdrop to future storylines in the show.”
Jon Sen, EastEnders executive producer, said: “Dreph’s mural is an exciting and timely addition to the show that reflects events taking place in the real world. Anti-racism is something that the cast, crew and producers care passionately about at EastEnders and the show is well known for tackling social issues and celebrating diversity and inclusivity through its characters and storylines.”
EastEnders returns to our screens on BBC1 later in the year.