rtists associated with the Royal Academy of Arts have created a large-scale public art exhibition in the central area of London’s West End for the Summer. The artists have designed flags, painted pedestrian crossings and filmed pieces for the giant screen at Piccadilly Circus. As part of a new cultural initiative for the West End, the Royal Academy collaborated to create one of the biggest public art takeovers the capital has ever seen, beginning a season of free and accessible public art in the area.
To welcome visitors back to the West End following the Covid-19 lockdown, Michael Armitage, Vanessa Jackson RA, Isaac Julien CBE RA, Farshid Moussavi OBE RA and Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, five artists associated with the Royal Academy, were allocated a specific area to design, where they could choose to repurpose an existing artwork or create something completely new.
The exhibition will be available until the end of August, visitors to the West End will be able to view 13 colorfully designed pedestrian crossings, 30 overhanging flags in the area around Piccadilly as well as the artists taking over the giant 780 square meter screen. Visitors are able to access an incredible augmented reality experience via their smartphone, marking the first time the technology has been utilised on the iconic landmark.
On the giant screen at Piccadilly Circus, Isaac Julien is showcasing his new film ‘Lessons of the Hour’, about the life and times of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, which features British actor Ray Fearon. Visitors can view regular trailers, with the full 30-minute screening at the end of August and audio sync their mobile devices allowing them to hear what’s on the screen.
Additionally, visitors can connect to a 10-screen, fully immersive, augmented reality trailer screening of Julien’s work by scanning a QR code and watching on their device. Lessons of the Hour will also be showing in Scotland at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art until 10 October 2021.
Also, dotted around the area are highly visible QR codes on walls that link to Art of London’s Augmented Gallery, showcasing paintings from London’s leading art museums through an accessible augmented reality app. When visiting the West End, simply download the app "Art of London AR Gallery" on iOS or Android.