Up Projects,

Meet & Great, Shipman Youth Centre, 2017. Image: Crossrail

Sonia Boyce has been selected to realise a new public artwork running along the Elizabeth line trackside wall, which runs through Custom House, Silvertown and North Woolwich in Newham. 

UP Projects have been working with Crossrail since summer 2016 to curate and manage this major new commission. At over mile long, the artwork will be one of the longest ever commissioned in the UK. The final design for the artwork is expected to be unveiled by early 2018. It will be installed this year, ahead of the opening of the Elizabeth line in December 2018.

Local residents will have the opportunity to work with Boyce on the development of the artwork through a series of workshops and events over the coming months. These events will bring people together to explore shared and individual memories of the area; looking at the events, people and places that have shaped Newham’s unique character. Once the research has been completed the artist will weave together the pieces of history to create her final design.

A diverse panel of community representatives, project architects and experts in contemporary public art selected Sonia Boyce following a week-long public consultation led by UP Projects. The community responded positively to Sonia’s intrinsic understanding of the area. The artist grew up in Canning Town and went to school in Plaistow and has seen first-hand the significant regeneration taking place around the Royal Docks in recent years.

More about Sonia Boyce 

Over her 30-year career Sonia Boyce has emerged as one of the leading figures in the British art scene. Her work began with drawings that reflect her personal experiences to more recent works in which she uses diverse media such as photography, video, sound and testimonies to depict contemporary life. Boyce's recent interests explore art as a social practice alongside the critical and contextual debates that arise from this area of study. With an emphasis on collaborative work, she has been working closely with other people since 1990, often involving improvisation and spontaneous performative actions on the part of her collaborators.

After gaining recognition in the 1980s as part of the Black British Artists Movement, Sonia’s practice has evolved to become more collaborative and site specific, integrating all mediums including film, performance, photography and installation.

In 2007, Sonia Boyce was awarded an MBE for services to art and in 2016 she became a Royal Academician. She has exhibited at the ICA London, Eastside Projects in Birmingham, and the 2015 Venice Biennale. Last year Sonia won the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists.

Sonia’s proposal was one of three exceptional proposals shortlisted for this commission. Please see below videos of all three proposals by Sonia Boyce, Oscar Murillo and Amalia Pica.