Country & Townhouse
What to See at Kensington + Chelsea Art Week 2021. The Royal Borough is playing host to a flurry of new al fresco art this summer.
An eclectic mix of outdoor art will be popping up on the streets of London this summer for the 2021 edition of Kensington + Chelsea Art Week (KCAW). Taking place from 21 June until 4 July, the event celebrates the Royal Borough as a cultural hotspot, featuring public installations, neon art, walking tours, talks and more.
This year’s theme is ‘Reimagine’, encouraging us to both rethink the purpose of public spaces through art and to reconsider what’s possible in our own lives. ‘We will all need to re-imagine the shape of our lives as we seek to re-establish them post-pandemic. But we also must address urgent issues including the climate emergency, reimagining the impact of the Anthropocene, as well as address social and racial justice issues,’ says Vestalia Chilton, founding director of KCAW.
Last year, over 200 events were held, despite the pandemic – and this year is set to be even bigger. Each year KCAW invites artists, curators and creative organisations to present pre-existing artworks for the Art Trail, which aims to connect the borough through arts and culture. The 2021 trail will stretch across a number of spots in the area including Chelsea Physic Garden, Holland Park and Sloane Square, featuring works from artists including Tim Marlow OBE, Michael Forbes, Sara Blonstein and Zak Ové – who features on this week’s episode of Break Out Culture.
Read on for some of the highlights.
Kensington + Chelsea Art Week 2021: Highlights
The Pleasure Garden
Head to Warwick Road to see a beautiful summer garden and rewilding installation by artists Baker & Borowski. Part of KCAW Art Trial and Underbelly’s London Wonderground activities, the garden is inspired by the 18th century concept of pleasure gardens. Designed to inspire viewers to connect with nature, the artist duo have rewilded the landscape into a kaleidoscope of colour, complete with lots of new wildlife – from chrysanthemums to bees; cornflowers to lavender.
Poetic Light Typography
While wandering around Chelsea, keep an eye out for installations by Lauren Baker, which will be popping up in unexpected locations. Duke of York Square, for instance, will play host to Do You Want to Change The World With Me?, influenced by Vivienne Westwood’s environmental campaign, while Oscar Wilde-inspired pieces will be dotted around Sloane Street and Pavilion Road.
Art in Windows
Following the success of last year’s initiative, local artists will be transforming store windows along the King’s Road. This project supports the KCAW21 Charity Partner, Kensington + Chelsea Foundation, by giving the public the opportunity to buy prints from participating artists.
A sculpture from Zak Ové, Autonomous Morris, is coming to Kensington High Street. Standing at three metres high, the work is made from deconstructed car parts, welded together to create a futuristic, cross-cultural totemic mask. This includes several vintage Morris Minor bonnets – hence the name. ‘I’m fascinated by ideas around time travel, the spread of diaspora and the positive effects of colliding cultures,’ he says. ‘My sculpture highlights my belief in the power or play embodied in masquerade, to liberate a sense of self and provide an alternate or evolving creative space both personal and communal.’
The Alternative Art Trail
Reconnect with nature through Amy Jackson’s Alternative Art Trail, which takes visitors on an interactive walk around Kensington and Chelsea.
Antony Garratt and Amy Jackson are inviting the community to get involved with a new piece of public art, Wild Words, by submitting one line of poetry. They’re calling for submissions from people of all ages and backgrounds, particularly school children.
Main image: Baker & Borowski