Jamie Ritblat: The Summer of Art at Earls Court

Delancey Real Estate was founded by Jamie Ritblat in 1995. Over the course of the last 25 years, the company has established itself as a market-leading UK real estate development, investment and asset management company, having overseen some £20 billion in transactions to date. This article will look at the Summer of Art in Earls Court, an event organised by The Earls Court Development Company, an organisation created through a collaboration between Delancey Real Estate and Transport for London.

Presented at Empress Space, Earls Court’s newest public venue, the Summer of Art featured an array of exciting installations and activities, including art by Baker and Borowsky, Lucy Oates and Sol Golden.

Curated by The Earls Court Development Company and staged throughout the summer of 2023, the programme included a variety of different workshops and activities, as well as numerous art installations across the site. Visitors were tantalised by a vividly coloured floor mural by well-known local artist, Lucy Oates. In addition, The Gallery on Lillie Road hosted a portrait exhibition by revered Malawian-born artist Sol Golden. There was also an installation of monochrome portraits taken by BAFTA-award-winning artist Alison Jackson at Warwick Road, opposite the tube station.

Unveiled on 11th July 2023, the Summer of Art programme incorporated an array of different activities alongside public art exhibitions and installations. The programme commenced with the unveiling of Lucy Oates’ installation at Warwick Road and the opening of Sol Golden’s portrait exhibition.

The Summer of Art programme highlights the importance of inclusive and accessible art as well as showcasing the reemergence of Earls Court as one of London’s top cultural destinations for visitors, celebrating its transformation from a derelict site to a thriving hub for art and culture. As part of Kensington & Chelsea Art Week, Warwick Road was transformed by Lucy Oates’ colourful mural, with her artwork led by a desire to transform ordinary spaces into bright, playful areas.

From 3rd to 30th July 2023, Sol Golden-Sato exhibited his portraits at The Gallery on Lillie Road. The Earls Court Development Company’s artist in residence in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, Sol Golden showcased artwork celebrating six female leaders of the local community, with the artist specialising in large-scale paintings, sculptures and community murals. Entry to Sol Golden’s exhibition was free.

For visitors inspired to explore their own creative potential, comic illustrator Adam Hennessey ran free weekly classes for the community at the Earls Court Development Company Community Hub in Aisgill Avenue.

The Summer of Art 2023 also saw the BAFTA-award-winning artist Alison Jackson display her artwork at Warwick Road. Her 3.1-meter-tall installation featured monochrome portraits captured by patrons of the Earls Court Youth Club. Previously hosted by the Saatchi Gallery as part of her A Day in Your Life exhibition, the exhibition was launched with the mission of giving exposure to works created by talented young artists in the local community.

As part of the Summer of Art programme, young people were offered workshops in photography, production and set design, makeup and styling. Winners were presented with prizes to help them develop their talent. In addition to spectacular local art, the Summer of Art event also hosted The Lost Estate, a renowned theatre company based at a former mannequin factory on the redevelopment site. Visitors were treated to The Lost Estate’s production The Greatest Night of the Jazz Age, enjoying an immersive, visionary story of wild dancing and hot jazz in a Park Avenue fantasy set in Prohibition-era New York.

Meanwhile, at The Daikin Centre, Empress Space, the acclaimed BBC Earth Experience ran as part of the Summer of Art programme, enthralling visitors with a groundbreaking 360-degree audio-visual journey featuring mesmerising animals, iconic landscapes and bespoke narration from Sir David Attenborough. In addition to the BBC Earth Experience, Empress Space also staged an art exhibition by Baker and Borowski, as well as various street food stalls and play areas for both children and adults featuring life-sized chess pieces, along with other activities and entertainment.

The 20 Things Around Earls Court self-guided tour enabled art afficionados to enjoy the sights at their own pace. Curated by the renowned architect Sam Jacob, the tour celebrated Earls Court’s unique heritage, including the area’s links to musical legends like Pink Floyd and David Bowie. Visitors could also pause at The Prince to enjoy delicious homecooked food along the way. Alternatively, some of London’s biggest names in street food attended the event, including Le Bab and Crust Bros.

Commenting on the launch of the Summer of Art, Earls Court Development Company Director of Public Affairs, Social Impact and Community Relations Rebekah Paczek pointed out that the company had made significant strides in delivering early on-site activations and installations, from its involvement with Kensington & Chelsea Art Week to collaborating with Open City and London Design Festival. Rebekah Paczek said that The Earls Court Development Company’s ultimate goal was to ‘bring back the wonder to Earls Court’, re-establishing it as a major centre for arts and culture.

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