The Mall Wood Green held a special event to celebrate a creative arts project designed to address the mental health needs of black boys.

The S.M.I.L.E-ing Boys Project and Exhibition in support of the Godwin Lawson Foundation involved youngsters from the local area with the exhibition culminating in a celebration at the shopping centre on September 23.

The event, hosted by The RecShop, saw the boys, their families, teachers and mentors, artist and creator of the exhibition Kay Rufai, staff at the shopping centre, and Godwin Lawson Foundation charity come together.

Kay said: "Through the partnership with The Mall, the celebration event enabled us to platform the beautiful smiling faces of these black boys across the centre - a place so central to their everyday lives, within their own community.

"No place epitomises that more than the shopping centre where they, their friends, their mothers’ friends and their friend's cousin all go to get their supplies, only to be told: "Yo Nyre you're famous, your face is in The Mall," or getting a text saying: "Ain't this your son?" , but this time not for a wanted poster, or an RIP, but instead, an affirming statement of value and belonging to rebalance the narrative associated with these faces.

"It was special to watch these boys see themselves and be celebrated by their friends, teachers and strangers. And to see them swell with pride and self-worth…well that was the icing on the cake."

Enfield Independent: Ty with his photo at The Mall Wood GreenTy with his photo at The Mall Wood Green

The evening began at City Square to view the exhibition, which also aimed to challenge the negative stereotypes of this demographic in both the media and society, and take photos. Attendees were then welcomed to award-winning music studio and social enterprise, The RecShop by founder, Mary Otumahana, who later performed as WondRWomN.

As well as speeches from The Mall’s general manager, Samantha Davidson, and Kay, attendees watched a short behind the scenes video about the project and were treated to musical performances from some of the amazing young artists mentored by Mary, and a DJ set from Ace the DJ. Several of the boys also shared their experiences of the project.

Enfield Independent: Nyre with his portraitNyre with his portrait

Godwin Lawson Foundation founder Yvonne Lawson said: "This year we decided to collaborate with the S.M.I.L.E-ing Boys Project, which has enabled us to elevate our common goals together.

"With appropriate intervention and support, young people will achieve their fullest potential and stay away from crime. Together we can reduce youth violence."

Portraits and artwork created in collaboration with students from Woodside High School in Wood Green as part of the project, have been on show at The Mall since August.

Enfield Independent: 2. Boys from Woodside High School and their families2. Boys from Woodside High School and their families

Catriona Baillie, The Mall Wood Green’s marketing manager, added: "We were keen to hold an event at The Mall to bring the boys and Kay back together as it has been several months since the S.M.I.L.E-ing Boys workshop took place.

"We wanted the event to be a celebration of the boys and their brilliant achievements and were determined to make a fuss of them - being exhibited in their local shopping centre is a big deal.

"I’m thrilled that we were able to draw everyone together and celebrate in true Wood Green style."