For the second edition of the Night Tube pocket map Art on the Underground have commissioned London-based Filipino artist Pio Abad to create a new work for the cover. Abad has taken inspiration from an unusual item he found in Transport for London’s Lost Property Office. The stuffed gorilla, complete with his Hawaiian shirt, is one of the most unusual objects to be found on the London Underground and invites questions as to how he was forgotten. Abad has drawn a portrait of the stuffed toy in a detailed linear style, using many of the recognisable colours of the Tube lines. Eddie, as the gorilla is fondly called by the staff at the Lost Property Office, becomes a mascot of the unexpected encounters of nocturnal London.
Pio Abad’s practice is concerned with the social and political implications of objects. He works in a range of media including textiles, drawing, installation and photography, using strategies of appropriation to explore alternative or repressed historical events. Often taking on the form of domestic accessories, such as scarves and bags, Abad’s work passes seamlessly between decoration, applied arts and art history.
A limited edition print will be produced alongside the Night Tube map cover; it will depict a larger scale image of Eddie the gorilla in Digital Pigment print.
The Night Tube map commission series aims to support London-based artists in the early stages of their career by providing them with the opportunity to show their works to a vast audience across the city. Abad’s commission is the second in the series, which began with Samara Scott in December 2016.