This year’s Kensington + Chelsea Art Week will bring the Royal Borough to life with incredible public art during October. Highlights include the façade of the Coronet Theatre wrapped in embroidered poetry, empty retail spaces transformed with installations and colourful murals from local artists acknowledging Black Lives Matter, the COVID19 pandemic and paying tribute to the NHS. This vibrant festival is free and open to all.
“We are proud to once again fill our borough with public art installations alongside a rich and diverse programme of cultural highlights for October, developed in response to the momentous events of the past few months.” comments Festival Director Vestalia Chilton. “There has never been a more important time for KCAW to promote the work of our community, foster collaboration and support local culture.”
KCAW 2020 participants of this year’s expanded Public Art Trail include: Liz West, Lois O’Hara, Barnaby Barford, Toy Studio, Alex Chinneck, Chris Ruffoni, Found Fiction and Amy Jackson responding to the Curatorial Call: Transformation. The artists have created installations that will serve as temporary landmarks connecting eight areas in the RBKC, including: Sloane Square, Duke of York Square, Kings Road, Chelsea Theatre, Holland Park, Freston Road, Portobello, High Street Kensington and White City.
KCAW2020 hosted an Open Call to artists to give greater visibility to locally based creative talent. These landmark installations proposed by the artists will be placed in a variety of public spaces to form an evolving discovery trail that can be explored on foot and digitally across all KCAW platforms, including self-guided tours on the Go Jauntly app.
The Highlights of the Public Art Trail include:
ToyStudio’s geometric sculpture and light installation In Bloom will be situated on Sloane Square, inspired by the complex stellated polyhedral to help viewers contemplate patterns and relations found in mathematical principles of balance and symmetry.
British Sculptor Alex Chinneck’s Alaphabetti Spaghetti, from a series of ‘knotted’ post-boxes, will be installed on Bramley Rd / Lockton St intended to playfully disrupt the world and the materials around us; Alice Irwin’s People Play featuring a number of coloured cut outs installed at the junction of Bramley Road and St Ann’s Road, explore her long-term interest in the importance of play and ‘the playground’ as a space of freedom, interaction and fun.
Through III, a six-metre long triangular prism corridor of light and colour by Liz West, will be installed on the Duke of York Square as a walk-through structure to encourage visitors to literally look at their surroundings in a different light.
Barnaby Barford’s giant wizened apple sculpture; The Earth of Majesty, This Seat of Mars, in Napoleon Garden in Holland Park, which encompasses the values of both decay and growth, invites viewers to reflect upon the series of transformations the neighbourhood has gone through over the past few decades.
Found Fiction’s faux art descriptions will be found on buildings across ten locations in RBKC, mimicking labels found next to artworks in galleries as a way to demonstrate that art is all around us and a part of the public fabric.
Sound artist Chris Ruffoni’s Solarphones installed in Avondale Park is a system designed to connect directly with the environment and only produce sound when there is sufficient light. Ruffoni’s work inspires an environmental awareness through sonic.
In Kings Road, Lois O’Hara’s colourful site-specific works will be installed to create a dynamic ‘Happy Street’ with colourful patterns spilling over from her mural on Chelsea Fire Station across store windows and the pavement all the way to World’s End.
Award-winning multidisciplinary artist Yinka Llori is collaborating with KCAW and CW+, the official charity of the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, to create a series of unique artworks and design interventions for the St Stephen’s Centre at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Ilori’s practice fuses his British and Nigerian heritage to tell new stories in contemporary design. Known for his use of bold patterns and vibrant colours, the West London-based artist will develop a new and cohesive visual identity for the St Stephen’s Centre, creating an environment that supports patient, staff and visitor wellbeing. The London Design Festival has recently awarded Yinka Ilori with the Emerging Design Medal for the impact his work has made on the design scene in the last five years.
Maya Sanbar’s Words on the Hill is an audio-visual outdoor installation that will be held at the Coronet Theatre for the opening on National Poetry day. Sanbar has sewn words and images into 80 metres of cloth that will cover the exterior of the theatre, while a soundscape of classic and contemporary poetry is broadcast in multiple languages.
To celebrate the First RBKC Culture Night and Kensington + Chelsea Art Week 2020, KCAW and The Chelsea Theatre have collaborated to present a site-specific light installation. From 2–11 October, the theatre's facade at World's End Square will be illuminated by coloured lights in the evenings. On the evening of 2 October, four moving lights will be installed to create a 'searchlight effect' on the sky and the adjacent building, to coincide with the Culture Night and KCAW Friday Lates.
Painters Kate Dowdy and Lucille Dweck along with sculptors Danny Lane and Joe Rush will be included in the Open Doors 360 Exhibition, held at Goldfinger Factory. Open Doors will screen ten films (previously only on YouTube), in 360’ footage of artists working across the borough from Terence Stamp performing live on stage, to Lucille Dweck painting en plein air in Hyde Park. The films have been produced by KCAW in collaboration with Chasing the Light Studio and Muse Gallery and supported by RBKC Arts Grant. The accompanying exhibition will include the artists’ works from the films, and behind-the-scenes photographs.
A series of large-scale murals will be created as part of the Love Kensington + Chelsea Hoardings Project where local artists have been selected by vote to explore local history and from this create site-specific murals, contributing to the area’s urban landscape and celebrating local culture. Following the success of the first three murals on Pavilion Road, Walton Street, and the Museum of Brands, Mural #4 will be created on a large-scale hoarding on Freston Road.
Curator Bolanle Tajudeen has selected Linett Kamala and Azarra Amoy to create the design for Mural #4 in response to Black Lives Matter and as part of the ongoing effort to redress the systematic underrepresentation of black womxn artists. The duo will present three ideas based on key topics relating to: local heritage and history, and social justice issues of female empowerment and racial representation which will be voted on by the public with the winning design being painted from 28 Sept – 4 Oct.
Eight retail art installations will fill vacant retail spaces along Kensington High Street and which will stay in situ until Christmas. Participating artists include: Alexander Ikhide (pictured above), Shuster Moseley, Luap, Dotmaster, Lindsay Mendick and Catriona Robertson. KCAW X Chelsea Windows will witness the collaboration of local artists and creative studios to activate store windows along iconic Chelsea streets including King’s Road through a series of exhibitions and imaginative interventions. Artists included in this project: Juliette Losq, Fiona Grady, Sarah Edwards and Yoni Atler. A highlight will be Yoni Alter’s “Shapes of Dogs” for the Love My Human store window.
Also featured as part of the Public Art Trail is the Albertopolis Fantasy Projects, a collaboration between the Great Exhibition Road Festival lead by Imperial College London and co-curator and participating artist Remi Rough. A selection of seven artists and scientists have created ‘digital fantasies’ of iconic places around Exhibition Road in Albertopolis, based on the research of Imperial scientists to the theme of mental health. Taking the aerial view of Exhibition Road and its institutions, artists are invited to re-imagine the possibilities through digital fantasies created during social distancing.
The third edition of Kensington + Chelsea Art Week takes place 1-11 October 2020. Eleven days of public art festivities have been developed with community consultation, with a diverse programme of events, talks, highlights, installations and exhibits taking place throughout the Royal Borough. Over 130 participating venues with more than 200 events both online and offline, this is the most extensive edition of the festival to date.