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Stoke Newington Billboard Tate
Photograph: Kevin Lake/Tate

Tate is covering London’s billboards with work by up-and-coming artists

The works by 16-25-year-old artists range from poetry and make-up looks to photography and illustration

Written by
Alexandra Sims

London’s cultural scene is having an extremely tough time right now. So to help young people who are currently working to establish themselves in the creative industries, Tate is taking over seven billboards across London and plastering them with work from some of the UK’s best emerging artists.  

Over 800 young people (aged 16 to 25) across the country submitted work in response to Tate’s open call for art responding to seven masterpieces in the permanent collections of its galleries. A panel of judges whittled the submissions down to the best 48, which you’ll be able to see hanging up next to the art that inspired them for two weeks, from Monday August 10. 

The works range from poetry and make-up looks to photography and illustration, and include homages to Sir John Everett Millais’s ‘Ophelia’ (pictured below). 

Sir John Everett Millais, Ophelia 1851-2/ Tate
Sir John Everett Millais, ‘Ophelia’, 1851-2/Tate
Jada Bruney ‘Ophelia’/ Tate
Jada Bruney ‘Ophelia’/Tate
Urja Gauri Jain, ‘Ophelia, in the midst of a pandemic’
Photograph: Urja Gauri Jain, ‘Ophelia, in the midst of a pandemic’

Young artists have also responded with works inspired by Kandinsky’s ‘Swinging’ (pictured below). 

Swinging 1925 by Wassily Kandinsky 1866-1944
Wassily Kandinsky, ‘Swinging’, 1925/Tate
Rosie Davis, ‘Masked’/ Tate
Photograph: Rosie Davis, ‘Masked’/Tate
Ella Soni, no title/ Tate
Photograph: Ella Soni, no title/Tate

Other works are inspired by John Martin’s ‘The Plains of Heaven’, John Simpson’s ‘Head of a Man (?Ira Frederick Aldridge)’, Ibrahim El-Salahi’s ‘Reborn Sounds of Childhood Dreams I’, Sheba Chhachhi’s ‘Urvashi – Staged Portrait, Gulmohar Park, Delhi’ and Guerrilla Girls’ ‘Dearest Art Collector’. 

Urja Jain, one of the young artists whose work was selected, said: ‘As a young creative and someone who graduated through a global pandemic, I am very proud and excited for this opportunity to showcase my work across London. While the current pandemic has thrown our lives into disarray and chaos, uncertainty and 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.’

See the artworks from Monday August 10 to Sunday August 23 at the following locations: 
Royal College Street, Camden
130 Stoke Newington High Street, Hackney
Seven Sisters tube, Haringey
Finsbury Park tube/Wells Terrace, Islington
Brixton Academy, Lambeth
Peckham High Street, Southwark
Lloyd Park/William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow

More good art news: The world’s biggest illustration gallery is opening in London.

A new exhibition is celebrating 50 years since the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival.

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