A public art exhibition inspired by a nine-year-old girl who died of chronic asthma brought on by London’s polluted air will be part of a cultural festival in the capital next year.

Reathe: 2022 will feature oversized artwork placed at key sites near the busy South Circular Road near Lewisham.

Presented by the charity Invisible Dust, the work will be created by artist Dryden Goodwin and will explicitly relate to the death of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah.

The youngster lived just 25 meters from the South Circular and died in February 2013 after suffering dozens of acute attacks over three years.

She became the first person in the UK to have air pollution listed on her death certificate following a second inquest in December last year.

Her mother Rosamund Kissi-Debrah campaigned tirelessly for swift action against harmful levels of pollution and to highlight their effects on children.

Ms Kissi-Debrah recently attended the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow as part of a global coalition of mothers fighting to clean the air in their home countries.

Five attendees from local activist groups, including Choked Up, Mums for Lungs and the Ella Roberta Family Foundation, will sit down for Goodwin to be drawn and recorded as they “fight to breathe.”

Close


Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah’s mother, Rosamund, has campaigned for swift action against harmful levels of pollution (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah’s mother, Rosamund, has campaigned for swift action against harmful levels of pollution (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Video of the day

As people drive past the work, the executives will seem to come alive and it is hoped this will elicit empathy, with drivers involuntarily gasping for air.

The public exhibition is expected to be in place from late April to November next year.

It is part of the Lewisham London Borough of Culture Programme, which will showcase creativity and diversity, with a focus on tackling the climate emergency.