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Artwork at Whitechapel

‘A Sunday Afternoon in Whitechapel’ by Chantal Joffe, 2018

Inspired by the vibrant diversity of the local community, artist Chantal Joffe has created a series of large scale collages for the platforms of the new Whitechapel Elizabeth line station.

On-the-spot records of individuals that caught her eye on a Sunday afternoon were the starting point for a series of small paper collages which distil the distinguishing features of each passer-by into simple shapes and colours. Joffe then enlarged and recreated these in laser-cut aluminium. The two-metre-tall collages were then assembled and fixed to the arching platform walls, 30 metres below street level.

Artist Chantal Joffe

“All my thinking around this project has been about the journeys we make and how we make them our own – through the people we see on a daily basis, or private maps of significant places we carry in our heads. Part of the challenge has been to develop small intimate collages into large scale works and to retain a sense of the personal in a public space."
- Chantal Joffe

Chantal Joffe artwork assembly

'A Sunday Afternoon in Whitechapel' pays homage to Seurat's 'A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte' (1884) which depicts Parisians relaxing on the banks of the Seine. Likewise, Joffe presents a full multigenerational, multicultural spectrum of east Londoners at leisure, and in doing so celebrates the vivacity of urban life in the streets above and around Whitechapel station. 

"I like the idea of creating an identity for the station which is a very beautiful architectural space, and I wanted the art in it to link the under round with the above ground and the sense of Whitechapel as a bustling inner-city place with a hospital and a market. It was really important that you feel very that aliveness and I wanted you to feel very strongly, I know here this is: this is Whitechapel.”
- Chantal Joffe

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Sponsor: The City of London Corporation with grants from Art Fund and Randeree Charitable Trust

Gallery partner: Whitechapel Gallery