Rosetta Arts with artist Helena Roden commissioned to create large art installation
As of 22 May 2018, the previously uninviting A13 Wharfside underpass between Wharfside Road and Bow Creek Ecology Pass will have been transformed into a large-scale public artwork. East London-based visual art centre Rosetta Arts, in collaboration with artist Helena Roden, were commissioned by Newham Council in 2017 to deliver this permanent art installation.
The official opening of the artwork is set to take place at 12.00pm on Tuesday 22 May, and will commence with a talk given by the artist at Rosetta Art’s Humble Gallery. Guests, including the Mayor of Newham, will then proceed to the site to get a first view of the installation. This artwork marks the inauguration of what will be known as the Wharfside Art Tunnel.
“My sculpture will be made of painted metalwork and fixed into one of the 10 metre wide concrete walls that holds up the A13, and which had previously been a target of vandalism and anti-social behaviour”, says Helena Roden. “The colour scheme and plant forms are drawn from the Ecology Park; greens, lemon yellows, warm mauve and the hot pink of wild sweet peas, whilst the grids refer to Canning Town’s contemporary buildings. It is a collage of the organic and the architectural. In the future the underpass will form a vital link in the Leaway, a walking and cycling route along the River Lea from the Olympic Park down to the Thames.”
One important intention behind the artwork is to open up access to the art making process for the local community. In light of this, Roden and Rosetta Arts hosted several workshops for pupils from Star Primary School, as well as public workshops at Canning Town Library and for LB Newham officers at Newham Dockside. Through these sessions local residents were able to contribute ideas that the artist incorporated into the design. An exhibition of photographs and artwork associated with the project will be on show at Rosetta Arts’ Humble Gallery in West Ham from the 14th May to the 4th June.
Rosetta Arts have been based in East London and working with the local community for over 25 years, encouraging creative expression in areas which may not otherwise get to see and experience the benefits of visual art. “Art in public places is free, no tickets are required, you don’t have to dress up and you can view it alone or in groups and revisit as many times as you like… one significant reason why art in public spaces is important is because it creates attachment to one’s community. In studies worldwide the biggest drivers of attachment are art, parks and greenspaces, and these rank higher than education, safety and local economy. In fact 3 in 5 adults say having more arts and culture in their local area would make it a better place to live”notes Sanaz Amidi, CEO for Rosetta Arts. “The transformation of the A13 Wharfside underpass is an important milestone for the local community in Canning Town and the surrounding areas. It will pave the way for a host of projects which aim to revive Newham and create a new sense of place, as well as incorporating and celebrating the ecology of the surrounding area.”