No plans for the weekend? Look no further. Discover the pop-up art installations, murals, talks, and more spread all across West London until July 4 as part of the fourth edition of Kensington + Chelsea Art Week
Words by: Gilda Bruno
In case you’ve missed it, an exciting cultural initiative has just breathed new life into the boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea turning them into open-air art galleries for eleven days, between June 21 and July 4.
Now at its fourth edition, Kensington + Chelsea Art Week is a multidisciplinary art event taking place along the streets of West London and comprising large-scale installations, murals, and ephemeral street art pieces alongside a programme of walking tours and talks “putting culture at the heart of pandemic recovery.” The goal? Showcasing the authenticity of Kensington and Chelsea cultural melting pot while also nurturing resilience amongst local creatives in response to the pandemic scenario.
Themed “REIMAGINE,” this year’s Kensington + Chelsea Art Week (KCAW) merged art with its socio-cultural implications by tackling some of the most urgent challenges of our time — from the uncertainty of post-COVID life to climate change and racism — through the lens of London’s artistic genius.
Valuing the dismissed power of art as the “fuel of the future,” KCAW attempts to foster constructive dialogues around the function and purpose of public spaces – from crossing points to parks and cultural institutions – to promote the establishment of urban landscapes keeping culture at their core. Featured artists include Zak Ové, LR Vandy, Anthony Garratt, Amy Jackson, Lauren Baker, Rand Abdul Jabbar, the artist duo Baker and Borowski, and Yan Skates, all exploring the aftermath of coronavirus and the shaping of the “new normal” through their own peculiar standpoint.
“I’m fascinated by ideas around time travel, the spread of diaspora, and the positive effects of colliding cultures,” said artist Zak Ové, the mind behind Autonomous Morris: the monumental multimedia sculpture on display on the premises of the Design Museum as part of KWAC 2021 Art Trail. “My sculpture highlights my belief in the power of play embodied in masquerade, to liberate a sense of self and provide an alternate or evolving creative space both personal and communal.”
Elsewhere in West London, from King’s Road to Sloane Street, Lauren Baker’s Poetic Light Typography installations will surprise passers-by and invite them to reflect upon life, joy, and existence. Among the artworks on display are her Vivienne Westwood-inspired Do You Want to Change The World With Me? and All your life you were waiting for this moment, a tribute to the Beatles “Blackbird.”
“I am a huge fan of Vivienne Westwood as sustainability is key to my work,” the artist explained. “See my campaign to plant 8888 trees in the Amazon. I am at 7k trees now and intend to give this a push this summer to reach the goal.”
Warwick Road presents strollers with World’s End, a summer garden rewilding installation by artistic duo Baker & Borowski specifically designed to facilitate people’s connection with nature. Stemming from the concept of the “Pleasure Gardens,” the installation disrupts the artificial architectural volumes of the area surrounding Earls Court to face visitors with a “kaleidoscope of colours and flowers,” bees, and butterflies to the delight of children.
Antony Garratt and Amy Jackson’s public art installations will combine their environmental stance with innovative materials, while Amy Jackson’s Alternative Art Trail will immerse the public in an exclusive journey through Kensington and Chelsea in the spirit of mindfulness and self-discovery. Local artists, including acid-house DJ Justin Robertson, and creative studios will give a new face to the numerous store windows of King’s Road and Fulham Road to spotlight the artistic rebirth of the local art community amid the coronavirus crisis.
Prints by participating artists will be available for on-site purchase as a way of supporting KCAW21 Charity Partner, Kensington + Chelsea Foundation.
Among the others, the Art Week includes Gold & Ashes and Sights & Sounds of Gen Z – two photography-based community projects exploring themes such as identity and belonging – and Carnival Reimagined, the Linett Kamala-led project inviting artists to reproduce all the peculiarities of Notting Hill Carnival, from the sounds and sights to its most delicious dishes, by relying on different art techniques and mediums.
But this is just the beginning: as a matter of fact, not only will the KCAW Public Art Trail continue throughout the upcoming two months, wrapping up on August 31; yet this will be accompanied by an entire calendar of events taking place as part of the annual Kensington + Chelsea Festival (June 21–August 31, 2021): a diverse programme celebrating artists, local communities, and organisations, and “highlighting a wealth of talent whose careers have been on hold for a year.”
With events exploring the wide spectrum of art, crafts, music, and performance, one thing is for certain: Summer 2021 will be a summer to remember, so don’t miss out!
Visit the Kensington + Chelsea Art Week website to find out more about all the initiatives taking place in London this weekend, and discover the calendar of the upcoming Kensington + Chelsea Festival.