Wembley Park today announces the unveiling of eight major public realm artworks by leading female artists from around the world, curated by Zoë Allen of Artistic Statements and assembled by an all-woman team of 16.
The ambitious project will further establish Wembley Park’s credentials as a major cultural hub for Northwest London. Launching on Tuesday 8th March to celebrate International Women’s Day, the free art trail includes digital artworks, lighting installations, typography, graphic design, photography and illustration and centres around the theme ‘How Beautiful Change Can Truly Be’, underpinning the transformation that Wembley Park has undergone in recent years, from an event-day only destination to one of London’s most exciting new neighbourhoods, with culture and creativity at its heart. The 85-acre Wembley Park area includes affordable artist studios and a growing collection of outdoor public art developed with local, national, and international artists, which has transformed its public spaces.
As a result of Covid-19, Wembley Park found new ways to boost the spirits of its residents, attract visitors, and support artists, including such initiatives as its outdoor public art trail launched in September 2020. Since this time, the neighbourhood has played host to public art installations and murals created by internationally renowned artists from around the globe, including colour superstar Remi Rough, and world-famous French street photographer JR.
Adding to the existing trail, ‘Figures of Change’ takes shape across a myriad of unconventional outdoor canvases in site specific locations around the neighbourhood. Upon exiting Wembley Park tube station, visitors are faced with high impact positive messaging of digital artworks that illuminate several digital totems as well as the dramatically transformed Bobby Moore Bridge. Further along Wembley Park’s recently revamped Olympic Way, a brightly coloured, large-scale 23 x 23m floor mural is on display opposite the new Olympic Steps, unveiled by Wembley Park in June 2021 ahead of the postponed EURO 2020 Games at Wembley Stadium.
The works also reflect the theme of IWD2022, #breakthebias, a global call to tackle discrimination, celebrate our differences and forge an equal future, exploring the positive shifts in attitudes towards women and a collective desire for change following a hugely destabilising global pandemic.
The roster of artists and curators includes Sofia Cianculli, Laxmi Hussein, Lois O’Hara, Sarah Blackwell, Charley Peters, Zoe Slatter, Stephanie Rausser, Jennifer Latour, Henriette Sabroe Ebbesen, Christelle Boule, Esperanza Moya, Maria Luneva, Thirza Shaap, Karina Twiss, Wami Aluko, Liz Von Hoene, Zoë Allen and Averil Curci.
Market Square will feature an outdoor photography exhibition gallery by women from round the world, curated by Averil Curci; leading onto a trio of eye-catching phone boxes and a succession of shooting stars over the iconic Spanish Steps which link the newly named OVO Arena and Wembley Stadium.
Brent resident Laxmi Hussain’s work, Landscapes of Women, is a tribute to the female form celebrating the diversity of women throughout the borough. In an abstract way the playful installation aims to emulate landscapes as well as representing the organic curves of the human body. To engage the community Laxmi will invite the public to paint one section of the proposed installation, which will then be titled ‘painted by the local community of Brent.’
Lois O’Hara’s giant floor mural, Think Independently Together, aims to be a welcoming space for multi-generational connectivity, developed alongside young local adults whose critical feedback shaped the final visual. The intention is to create a joyful space which celebrates the diversity in the area using an eye-popping colour palette and interlocking shapes, encouraging connection and interaction after two years of isolation. The installation draws inspiration from Wembley Park map seen from the bird’s eye view, The playful lines which collide with each other have an almost fluid and game-like quality; the hope is for them to be literally inhabited echoing the aims of the `collaborate' zone in the formal public space intervention.
Sofia Cianciulli’s project, e-motion, explores themes of body, self-love, movement, feelings, connection, and disconnection. Appearing on the iconic Bobby Moore Bridge at the entrance to Wembley Park, the digital artworks provide high impact positive messaging, which continues on the tall digital totems that frame the famous Olympic way, and onto playful phone boxes, the works are illuminated and at night provide a truly powerful message, presenting life-sized figures to suggest a level connection with the audience. The blurry representations of a woman dancing, running, or reading channel the essence of the theme “...how beautiful change can truly be” and express the artist’s personal experience of shifting emotions from negative to positive – disconnecting from the outside noise in order to reconnect mind and body, and finally upgrading her experience of reality.
Illustrator Zoe Slatter’s work is inspired by the sweeping curve of Wembley Stadium, the people of Brent, International Women’s Day and Spring. Her installation blends typography and illustration with a colour palette echoing colours from the non-binary/transgender flag, highlighting the theme of 2022 International Women’s Day #breakthebias.
Charley Peters’ Power Up! is a site-specific artwork made for Wembley Park’s Spanish Steps, depicting a succession of shooting stars that seem to rise up as a mirror to the perseverance and resilience of women’s voices. Using a spectrum of colour to reflect the diversity of women’s experiences, the stars move onwards and upwards in an arrangement of solidarity for International Women’s Day 2022. It is a positive, uplifting artwork that is futuristic and otherworldly and yet also familiar – with the title acting as a bold reminder of the strength that can be found through both community and individuality.
Floating Seasons by Sarah Blackwell is a stunning and thoughtful installation of flags inspired by the different trees dotted around Wembley Park, namely the Golden Rain tree and the Lime tree. Combining different types of leaves and colours to represent different plants and seasons, the final design effects a sea of blues and greens, sparkles of yellow and the occasional punchy note of red or orange, dancing together with the wind.
Josh McNorton, Cultural Director, Wembley Park said: “We are delighted to bring together a multicultural collective of female artists from around the world, on an array of new and unexpected canvases spearheaded by curator and long-time Wembley Park collaborator Zoë Allen. Their work will bring a unique, bold, surprising, and thought-provoking experience to Wembley Park. Our hope is that Londoners, our residents and visitors alike connect with the work with a sense of belonging and pride.”
Zoë Allen, curator, added: “We’ve had little to no access to culture and the arts throughout the global pandemic and we’ve been starved of inspiration - something that’s so important for the human psyche, so inspiration and accessibility are two of the major driving forces behind this art trail. The project creates a wholly accessible public art trail, providing a unique and exciting platform for artists to showcase their work, and hopefully leaves you feeling inspired for Spring, the future, and how beautiful change can be…”