Up Projects,

Film still Sonia Boyce proposal, 2017. Image: Crossrail

Sonia Boyce has been selected to realise a new public artwork running along the Elizabeth Line trackside wall, which runs through Custom House, Silvertown and North Woolwich in Newham. 

UP Projects have been working with Crossrail since summer 2016 to curate and manage this major new commission: at over a mile long, the artwork will be one of the longest ever commissioned in the UK. The final design for the artwork is expected to be unveiled by early 2018. It will be installed next year, ahead on the opening of the Elizabeth line in December 2018.

Local residents will have the opportunity to work with Boyce on the development of the artwork through a series of workshops and events over the coming months. These events will bring people together to explore shared and individual memories of the area; looking at the events, people, places, that have shaped Newham’s unique character. Once the research has been completed, Sonia will then weave together the pieces of history to create her final design.

Local residents are invited to meet Boyce on Sunday 15 October to hear her plans for the project and to find out more about how they can get involved. The events will take place:

11:30am – 1:30pm, Shipman Youth Centre, Prince Regent Lane, E16 3JH in Custom House

2:30pm – 4:30pm, Royal Docks Learning and Activity Centre, Albert Rd, E16 2JB in North Woolwich

There will be complimentary food and drink by local caterers and all are welcomed. RSVP newhamcommission@upprojects.com or via telephone 02073779677.

A diverse panel of community representatives, project architects and experts in contemporary public artwork selected Sonia following a week-long public consultation led by UP Projects. The community responded positively to Boyce’s intrinsic understanding of the area, she herself grew up in Canning Town and went to school in Plaistow and has seen first-hand the significant regeneration taking place around the Royal Docks in recent years.


More about Sonia Boyce 

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.


Sonia’s proposal was one of three exceptional proposals shortlisted for this commission. Please see below videos of all three proposals by Sonia Boyce, Oscar Murillo and Amalia Pica.