Wembley Park showcases new all-women art trail

·4-min read
Wembley Park showcases new all-women art trail

Across the world, Wembley has long been synonymous with the, often very male-dominated, beautiful game. What probably springs to mind for most of us is something along the lines of those infamous scenes from the Euro 2020 final: in other words, a lot of men and a lot of alcohol. For those living elsewhere in the capital who have only ever visited for sports matches or concerts, this might be all you know about the north-west London spot.

This spring, however, a group of female artists from around the world have revolutionised the space around the stadium, transforming it into an public art oasis of culture, colour and a celebration of womanhood.

The art trail, which launched in March 2022 in celebration of International Women’s Day, involves an eclectic combination of digital art, lighting installations, typography, graphic design, photography and illustration, across eight major outdoor sites around Wembley Park. From the iconic Bobby Moore Bridge and the Spanish Steps to the Market Square, the art is spread out over unconventional outdoor canvasses, designed, as curator Zoë Allen noted, to bring accessibility to what can often feel like an exclusive world.

Sofia Cianculli’s art appears on telephone boxes across the park (Chris Winter/Wembley Park)
Sofia Cianculli’s art appears on telephone boxes across the park (Chris Winter/Wembley Park)

Discussing the artwork, she said: “We’ve had little to no access to culture and the arts throughout the pandemic and we’ve been starved of inspiration - something that’s so important for the human psyche.

“The project creates a wholly accessible public art trail, providing a unique and exciting platform for artists to showcase their work, and hopefully leaves you feeling inspired.”

Upon leaving Wembley Park station, visitors are greeted with the first of the artworks by Italian artist Sofia Cianciulli: a looped video with the words “confidence looks good on you” appearing slowly, emblazoned in pink across the Bobby Moore Bridge. More of Cianciulli’s works, all exploring themes of self-love, are dotted around the park on digital totems and redesigned telephone boxes.

Sofia Cianculli’s art across the Bobby Moore Bridge (Soph Metries)
Sofia Cianculli’s art across the Bobby Moore Bridge (Soph Metries)

A little further along the park’s recently revamped Olympic Way, a brightly coloured, large-scale floor mural designed by Lois O’Hara is on display, a magnet for children in the area.

Lois O’Hara’s mural is inspired by the diversity of the Brent community (Aron Klein)
Lois O’Hara’s mural is inspired by the diversity of the Brent community (Aron Klein)

Perhaps the stand-out piece among the installations is lifelong Brent resident Laxmi Hussain’s ‘Landscapes of Women’. A tribute to the female form and the diversity of women throughout the borough, Hussain, who has benefitted from the new affordable art studios in Wembley Park, has transformed a set of concrete steps into an abstract and playful piece emulating the organic curves of the female body.

Laxmi Hussain painting ‘Landscapes of Women’ (Liz Seabrook)
Laxmi Hussain painting ‘Landscapes of Women’ (Liz Seabrook)

“My work revolves around the body – I started painting in a way to reconnect with myself after having kids,” she told the Standard. “Your body changes so dramatically. A lot of mums feel this sort of loss of identity.

“‘Landscapes of Women’ is a nod to the feminine form. It’s quite a nice twist, adding a bit of softness into a traditionally very masculine space. The other day I saw a dad and a daughter posing and taking a photo on the steps. It’s really nice that we can appreciate both elements of softness on these rigid straight concrete steps and that they can work together in harmony.”

Laxmi Hussain’s ‘Landscapes of Women’ is perhaps the stand-out piece (Liz Seabrook)
Laxmi Hussain’s ‘Landscapes of Women’ is perhaps the stand-out piece (Liz Seabrook)

To engage the community, Hussain will invite the public to paint one section of the proposed installation, which will then be titled “painted by the local community of Brent.”

Charley Peters’ ‘Power Up!’ is a site-specific artwork made for Wembley Park’s Spanish Steps (Aron Klein)
Charley Peters’ ‘Power Up!’ is a site-specific artwork made for Wembley Park’s Spanish Steps (Aron Klein)

The theme of the installation, ‘How Beautiful Change Can Truly Be’, reflects both the transformation of the space from grey and clinical to the home of a vibrant feminist art collection, but also the wider regeneration project that Wembley has been home to over the last few years.

More than £3 billion has been spent reconstructing the 85-acre Wembley Park area from a one-event destination to a lively neighbourhood with over 6,000 homes, restaurants, shops, green spaces and affordable artist studios and a growing collection of outdoor public art.

Josh McNorton, Cultural Director, Wembley Park said: “We are delighted to bring together a multicultural collective of female artists from around the world, on an array of new and unexpected canvases. Our hope is that Londoners, our residents and visitors alike connect with the work with a sense of belonging and pride.”

The art trail will be running until June 26 2022. For more information visit wembleypark.com/art or visit Zoë Allen’s website artisticstatements.co.uk

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