The global pandemic may have put a halt on the creative industries, but that doesn’t mean creativity has ceased to exist, and this new initiative from the Tate Collective proves just that.
Next week from 10 August, billboards across London will be taken over with new artwork created by young artists, showcasing the talents of the UK’s emerging arts scene.
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Following an open call by Tate Collective – Tate’s membership scheme for 16 to 25 year olds – members were invited to submit work in response to seven artworks in Tate’s collection, available to visit for free in Tate’s galleries.
For two weeks this summer, Londoners will be able to view selected entries alongside the works that inspired them, across seven billboards in Camden, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, Lambeth, Southwark and Walthamstow.
At a challenging time for the arts industry, The Tate Collective open call was launched to support creativity, particularly for younger artists who are just beginning their artistic journeys, with all selected artists paid for the use of their work.
Astonishingly, over 800 applications submitted their work, which ranged from poetry and make up looks, to photography and illustration.
Following much deliberation, a selection of 48 works reflecting the vibrancy and diversity of the capital were chosen by a panel of judges comprising Ibrahim Kamara, Co-Founder and Editor GUAP mag; Tobi Kyeremateng, Independent Producer and Founder of Black Ticket Project; Soofiya, artist, educator and writer; and Tate curators Nathan Ladd, Aïcha Mechrez and Valentina Ravaglia.
‘It is heartening to see immense creativity emerge at such a time of uncertainty for so many,’ stated Maria Balshaw, Director of Tate. ‘Tate Collective members have engaged with Tate’s collection in ways that are truly inspiring. I hope people all over the city are delighted and surprised by the new work they find in their communities.’
All featured works respond to a range of much-loved artworks from Tate’s collection, including Sir John Everett Millais Ophelia 1851-52, John Martin The Plains of Heaven 1851-3 and John Simpson Head of a Man (?Ira Frederick Aldridge) 1827, currently on display at Tate Britain. Wassily Kandinsky Swinging 1925, Ibrahim El-Salahi Reborn Sounds of Childhood Dreams I 1961–5, Sheba Chhachhi Urvashi – Staged Portrait, Gulmohar Park, Delhi 1990 and Guerrilla Girls from Guerrilla Girls Talk Back, Dearest Art Collector 1986 can all be viewed as part of Tate Modern’s collection routes.
‘Tate Collective have provided a great opportunity to enable brilliant artwork created by innovative young people to be shown to the public in a way that wouldn’t have been accessible before,’ said Tobi Kyeremateng, panellist and Independent Producer and Founder of Black Ticket Project. ‘Right now we all need a reason to be hopeful and what better joy than encountering the expression of young creative talent.’
‘As a young creative & someone who graduated through a global pandemic, I am very proud and excited for this opportunity to showcase my work across London,’ explained artist, Urja Jain. ‘While the current pandemic has thrown our lives into disarray and chaos, uncertainty & disappointment have become a part of our daily routine. But unlike Ophelia who drowned in despair, this is an ode to the class of 2020, as we all try our best to stay afloat while the current pulls us down.’
The display has been made possible thanks to media space provided by creative street advertising agency Jack Arts. ‘Supporting and celebrating young artists, bursting with creativity and energy is so important,’ says Khaly Nguyen, Head of Marketing at Jack Arts.
‘It is an absolute delight to be donating our poster sites to give these wonderfully talented young people a voice on the street, and a chance to provide some much-needed inspiration in our communities right now.’
Alongside the billboard displays, Tate Collective will also run week-long takeovers across their social media channels, showcasing entries and the artists involved. Full details of the featured artworks can also be found on Tate’s website: tate.org.uk/TCBillboards @TateCollective.