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Newham Trackside Wall Project Unveil Postponed

The current Coronavirus restrictions have led to the postponement of the public launch of the installation of the artwork for the Newham Trackside Wall

It had been hoped to unveil Sonia Boyce’s commissioned artwork on January 28, with the reveal of the first 100 metres of installed panels to press and public. The safety of the community remains paramount and we have taken the decision to postpone all activity. A series of rescheduled public events will be planned at a suitable moment later in the year.

Sonia Boyce, one of the leading figures in the contemporary British Art Scene was selected to create an artwork for Newham Trackside Wall. Local residents have contributed to the artist selection process and, through a series of workshops and events led by Boyce throughout the three neighbourhoods, have also contributed to the development of the final artwork. Over 300 stories have been collected by Boyce that highlight individual memories and the people and events that have shaped Newham. Over 170 of these stories will be woven into the design of the final artwork..

The current coronavirus restrictions will also impact the installation of the artwork, which was started at the end of 2020, with completion planned for late Spring 2021. Unfortunately this has also been delayed. A new schedule will be agreed once we are in a position to safely undertake the work. The new launch dates will be communicated to the community in Newham as a priority once they are confirmed.


Sonia Boyce has a close relationship to the area. She grew up in Canning Town, studied in Plaistow, and taught at University of East London.

Now Boyce has created a unique artwork for Newham which will reflect the many stories from and around the local area. She has held workshops training local young people from Shipman Youth Centre, Fight for Peace and ASTA Community Hub to record and archive oral history interviews. These young people have undertaken interviews with the local community and the results have become material for Boyce’s artwork


Over her 30-year career Sonia Boyce has emerged as one of the leading figures in the British art scene.

Her work began with drawings that reflect her personal experiences to more recent works in which she uses diverse media such as photography, video, sound and testimonies to depict contemporary life.

Boyce's recent interests explore art as a social practice and the critical and contextual debates that arise from this area of study. With an emphasis on collaborative work, she has been working closely with other people since 1990, often involving improvisation and spontaneous performative actions on the part of her collaborators.

After gaining recognition in the 1980s as part of the Black British Artists Movement, Sonia’s practice has evolved to become more collaborate and site specific, integrating all mediums including film, performance, photography and installation.

In 2007, she was awarded an MBE for services to Art, and in 2016 she became a Royal Academician. She has exhibited at the ICA London, Eastside Projects in Birmingham, and the 2015 Venice Biennale. Last year Sonia won the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists.

The Newham Commission will be Sonia Boyce’s first permanent public art commission in the UK.