At more than a mile long, the Elizabeth line trackside wall in Newham runs through Custom House, Silvertown and North Woolwich. The wall separates the public from the Elizabeth line tracks and trains, helps to reduce noise for nearby residents and provides flood protection for the railway. It also forms one of the longest artworks in the UK.
Newham Trackside Wall by Sonia Boyce OBE RA is deeply reflective of the local community, with local residents contributing stories through a series of workshops and events led by Boyce throughout the three neighbourhoods. Over 300 testimonies were collected by Boyce from 2017 to 2018 that highlight individual memories of the people and events that have shaped Newham. Over 170 of these stories are woven into the design of the final artwork. A frieze of documentary photography of the buildings, homes and street scenes directly opposite the trackside wall spans the entire length of the artwork as well as a floral pattern featuring plants and wildlife from the surrounding area. The artwork is printed in ink on over a thousand aluminium panels and applied to the trackside wall.
Boyce also held workshops training local young people from Shipman Youth Centre, Fight for Peace and ASTA Community Hub to record and archive oral history interviews.
A new website has been created which provides the background about the artwork and how it was created. It also contains the full collection of stories displayed in an accessible format and provides further information about the engagement process that underpinned the creation of the artwork. For further information visit www.newhamtracksidewall.com
Newham Trackside Wall by Sonia Boyce OBE RA was commissioned by Crossrail, curated by UP Projects and engineered by Atkins.