We all need something to boost our moods every now and again and, in 2020, that mood boost is more important than ever before. In a year of lockdowns, uncertainty and illness, the ability to brighten a space to bring an atmosphere of joy and playfulness is an invaluable skill, and it’s one that artist Camille Walala has in spades. Born in France, based in East London and working worldwide, Walala is an artist who takes joy seriously.
“I love public art. It’s so important in the city to bring a little bit of joy and make people smile. That’s what I’ve always tried to do.” – Camille Walala
Public art can have a major impact on the ways we perceive the world around us, and is valued by the vast majority of Londoners. Walala uses the man-made landscape as a vessel for disseminating positivity, and has become renowned over the last decade for making ambitious and large-scale interventions in public spaces around the world. These have included collaborations with leading global brands, the creative direction of a new hotel concept, major installations for WantedDesign and London Design Festival, and a growing number of charity and social art initiatives.
With three exciting new public art projects across the UK capital, Walala now appears to be on a mission to use her joyful patterns and colours to rejuvenate London’s streets. The first two of these projects, based in Leyton and White City, have already been unveiled and are on display to the public. Combining primary colours and geometric patterns, Walala’s colourful campaign in White City was unveiled last month and includes two (not-so-pedestrian) pedestrian crossings on South Africa Road and Wood Lane, titled Les Jumeaux (“The Twins”), which are complemented by seven individual murals along the WestWorks Building’s facade.
Strong, functional shapes that appear on buildings often serve as inspiration for Walala, who started her artistic practice working with textiles. In this way, the rich architectural history of the White City area is combined with the artist’s distinct, joyful style to create the visually arresting patterns and shades of Les Jumeaux.
The artist’s second London project, Walala Parade, exists much closer to her Hackney studio. The plan for the commission was thought up by local businesses Mighty Elk and Deeney’s, in collaboration with community arts group Wood Street Walls, with the goal of transforming a normal row of shops into a dramatic mural.
Walala’s third new London project has been created as part of the first London Mural Festival, which runs from 1st – 30th September. The artist’s contribution is set to be unveiled on the back wall of community arts centre Rich Mix, facing onto Shoreditch’s Redchurch Street. A 600 square metre celebration of East London, the mural is titled Belleville and will join 40+ other new artworks being painted across London as part of the festival.
“I find Rich Mix and this area of East London so interesting. It was one of the first places I spent time when I moved to London. It is so great that this independent arts centre and cinema is still standing strong, I think it is a real institution. And I love the streets and all the local shops around there. One of my favourite areas – it is such an independent place!” – Camille Walala
Article by Toby Buckley.
To learn more about Camille Walala visit her website, here.
Visit the London Mural Festival website, here.