Londons newest creative neighbourhood, Wembley Park
, has unveiled, Drawn Together, an uplifting new artwork on the Spanish Steps as part of its 2020 festive display, United in Light. In a year of people being asked to stay apart, the design features hundreds of unique, self-illustrated faces placed side-by-side and shaded to form a rainbow, reflecting the public working together to tackle the pandemic.
Using a community-centric creative process, Wembley Park and East-London designer Tash Randolph invited people across the UK to feature in this inclusive artwork by drawing their self-portraits on Instagram stories, combining the digital world with the physical. From a distance, the illuminated artwork gives the illusion of a rainbow climbing the steps, whilst up close it showcases 612 individuals who submitted a self-portrait and had their drawings rendered by Randolph.
Josh McNorton, Wembley Parks Cultural Director, says: We are proud to unveil the fifth public artwork for Wembley Parks Spanish Steps, which link Wembley Stadium with The SSE Arena, Wembley and are a highlight of our popular outdoor art trail. Its been heartening to see so many people taking the time to participate in this moment of collective artistic expression, and exciting to see talented London designer Tash Randolph transform their drawings into an inclusive and emotive artwork. The rainbow is designed to send our community and its visitors a message of hope this festive period as they stand side-by-side to face the challenging times of the pandemic. We look forward to seeing members of the public discovering their own Instagram creations rendered on our iconic Spanish Steps.
Tash Randolph, Designer, adds: After such a negative year I wanted this artwork to be a beacon of positivity for anyone that passes by it. So many people havent been able to see their friends and families, and this was a small way to celebrate the coming together of people and communities to create something uplifting. This piece was hugely inspired by all of the amazing rainbow drawings that popped up in peoples windows this year, and I hope that Drawn Together is a cheering reminder that were all in this together.
The Spanish Steps commissions are a feature of Wembley Parks extensive cultural programme, much of which has been reimagined since the onset of Covid-19, to make the most of its open spaces, support artists in this difficult time and demonstrate how beneficial cultural programming is to public wellbeing. The preceding Spanish Steps artwork installed in early 2020 was One in Four, commissioned in collaboration with the charity Mind and the English Football League (EFL) to raise awareness about the importance of mental health, a topic that has gained prevalence since the pandemic. Created by North-East based spray can artist Frank Styles, it saw a series of 12 portraits running down the steps; viewed from head on, three of the portraits on each section of the stairs were visible, but the fourth could only be seen only if you looked over from the adjacent flight. The work recognises that one in four people typically experience a mental health problem each year and it can require a shift in perspective to understand the impact.
The three previous designs, which have been installed since summer 2018, are Saturation Surge by Maser; LOVE, LOVE, LOVE by Clare Page and Harry Richardson; and Flight by Remi Rough.
Wembley Parks United in Light festive display also showcases Londons tallest LED Christmas tree. The 25-meter tree named Aurora Arbour has a specially-commissioned digital artwork for its bespoke, kinetic 100,000 LED light display. Artist Siân Bliss based the design on the spectacular and magical movements of a winter nights sky because even when we are separated we can all see the same sky. This concept also illuminates the neighbourhood with digital animations and illustrations featuring sunrises, moon cycles and aurora borealis across Bobby Moore Bridge, four digital totems and 14 LED banners along Olympic Way.