The bridge that links the entrance to JW3 with Finchley Road will be newly unveiled as the Lovelock Hostage Bridge this weekend.
The walkway will be fitted with over 100 padlocks displaying hostages’ names as well as countless padlocks signed by hostages’ family members and high-profile personalities.
On Sunday, the padlocks will be attached to the Lovelock Hostage Bridge as part of an installation conceived by the branding expert Marcel Knobil, and launched in collaboration with the 7/10 Human Chain Project.
“I felt that there was a desperate need to help reawaken the national and international media to the plight of the hostages,” Knobil said.
The idea was inspired by lovelock bridges around Europe. Knobil noted a dual symbolism in the locks; on the one hand, they traditionally represent a commitment of love and loyalty, and, on the other, the entrapment of being locked up.
As a result, the padlocks bearing the hostages’ names will be removed from the bridge as each hostage is released.
Padlocks signed by members of the hostages’ families will sit alongside locks signed by dozens of prominent figures, including Dame Maureen Lipman, Tracy-Ann Oberman and Nick Ferrari. Holocaust survivor Lily Ebert BEM, Eylon Levy, Rachel Riley and Vanessa Feltz are also participating in the installation.
Oberman, whose signed padlock will be added to the bridge on Sunday, told the JC: “I think about those hostages every day — what they are going through. I don't want the world to forget them. I hope little gestures like this will keep reminding people that we must do all we can to put pressure on governments and aid organisations who work with Hamas to check on them and secure their release.”
Oliver Marcus, director of marketing at JW3, said that the initiative was also a way to give the Jewish community “a physical location where people can go to connect with the hostages.
“A lot of people in the community are finding it hard to find a place where they can engage with what's going on with the hostages,” said Marcus. “There’s nowhere to go, and building an installation like this that will last for a long period of time, people can feel like there’s somewhere they can go, where they can show their support.”
Dame Maureen Lipman, who is due to attend the launch, said: “As far as I am concerned, I am the mother and the aunt and the daughter of a hostage, and I am silently powerless to convey my grief and frustration on their behalf. This is not a political endeavour; this is a symbolic gesture.”
The installation will be launched on February 11 and will be open to the public from 2:30pm that afternoon. Anyone who wants to add a signed padlock can participate, either by bringing his or her own lock or picking one up from reception at JW3.