East London has more artists living in it than anywhere else in the UK, yet the same boroughs that are home to these creative communities also home people with the lowest likelihood of visiting an art gallery.
With this in mind, and as part of the huge overhaul and regeneration of the former brown-field site that forms the Queen Elizabeth Park, Living Walls was launched to bring some art to the area whilst the building work was and continues to go on – transforming 2.5km of building site hoardings into works of art.
Taking this a step further, the scheme focused on the active participation of residents and businesses from the local community that border the Park – best shown by the series of shorts videos for each artwork. So stick the kettle on and watch a couple of these, or better still, go see them out in the Park.
‘Your Ad Here’ was the first project to be rolled out at the end of April 2014. Artists were invited to enter an open call and local businesses were asked to register their interest.
Each artist proposed an artwork which advertised the selected independent businesses, reflecting the individuality and vibrancy of the area. Over 35 artists’ works were selected and installed as advertisements in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Some look back on the industrial heritage of the area, while others simply on the small businesses around at present, but all manage to make artists work purposeful, approachable, and engaging – making the artists and designers that now populate the area less alien to the traditional residents, and open there eyes to the places they’re now living in.
‘The Review’ is a 400-metre graffiti mural by artist Ben Eine; arguably one of the most enigmatic and prolific artists to be involved with Living Walls.
His largest mural to date takes inspiration from the Victoria & Albert Museum and the proposed plans for a new cultural quarter on Queen Elizabeth Park. The mural features Eine’s trademark circus font depicting a continuous line of adjectives.
‘Uphoarding’ focuses on the growing significance of sustainability, up-cycling and re-cycling in the modern world.
Artist Mark McClure,’s 210 metre long artwork features 10 original ‘beacon’ pieces – a series of original vertical sculptures which have been fabricated with locally sourced materials from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and discarded film sets from Sugar Mill Studios.
The conceptual basis of these works is to reclaim the word ‘hoarding’ by transforming these locally sourced materials into original artworks of significant cultural and social value.
‘Meet Me In The City’ by artist Jo Peel is a 200-metre mural that absorbs and reflects the surrounding environment of the Park, specifically depicting the unique character of Hackney Wick, an environment in flux, growing and changing from the roots of its industrial past.
A 30-metre section of the mural has been transformed into one of Peels trademark stop motion animations; it tells a story of lost messages within the changing landscape of East London and how this feeds into people’s lives and the impact on them.
Featured artists include Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller, David Batchelor, Ben Eine, David Shillinglaw, Jo Peel and Mark McClure, many of whom are locally based.
Curated by Moniker Projects and Create, ‘Living Walls’ covers approximately 2.5km of hoarding and comprises of five main projects, ‘Your Ad Here’, ‘Tapestry’, ‘Uphoarding’, ‘Meet Me In The City’ and ‘The Review’, all of which will be on display at various locations around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for up to five years.