LONDON — Californian street artist Shepard Fairey has just unveiled his most ambitious mural to date, on a disused factory wall at the about-to-be unveiled London Pleasure Gardens, in Newham, East London. The ten storey-high piece, executed in Fairey's signature white, red, and black, pictures a megaphone with the words: "attention, amplify your voice, project free speech great distances."
Unlike most of Fairey's creations, this work is entirely painted. "The mural symbolizes freedom of speech and expression," the artist has said. "It is the tallest piece I have ever done in a space that has a great deal of character and history and it is an incredible place for my work to be shown”.
Best known for his blue and red "Hope" poster used during Barack Obama's campaign for the US presidency, Fairey is sharing the spotlight with Ron English, Risk and TrustoCorp, who have dotted the site with spray-painted jumbo jet nose cones, double-decker buses, mock corporate logos and speech bubbles.
LPG will officially open on Saturday with "A Night in Paradise," a free, all-night-long music festival featuring Jazzsteppa, Dutty Moonshine, and DJ Switch among others.
The 20-acre riverside site has been conceived as a 21st century version of the pleasure gardens popular in England between the 17th and the 19th centuries. It counts several venues: the Hub, the Dome, and the Blank Canvas, an open space which can welcome up to 27,000 people for performances and live events. Other highlights include a fire-spitting metal dragon, a 24-hour licensed floating cocktail bar, a marina, and a sculpture garden.
The producers behind the LPG are the winners of the "Meanwhile London Competition," which was launched in 2010 to transform derelict sites in the Royal Docks and Canning Town in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games. "The pleasure gardens of old showed the positive effect that sharing in art and culture can have on London," they said. "We can't wait for people to join us here to see what we're creating."
This article appears on ARTINFO UK.