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Everything you need to know about Kensington + Chelsea Art Week 2023

Peter Morris, A Cloud House Wendy House, in Holland Park
Peter Morris, A Cloud House Wendy House, in Holland Park Copyright Credit: KCAW
Copyright Credit: KCAW
By Theo Farrant
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Kensington and Chelsea Art Week has unveiled an extraordinary programme of free public art to enjoy this summer.

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London's highly anticipated art extravaganza, Kensington + Chelsea Art Week (KCAW), is back and poised to be its most spectacular edition yet. 

With a staggering participation of over 100 venues, the event will run from 22 June to 2 July, 2023, and consists of awe-inspiring public installations, exhibitions, murals, art tours, performance art and live talks. 

Embracing the theme of "The Art of Change," this year's KCAW program promises to ignite curiosity and provoke thought. 

To ensure you don't miss any of the highlights of KCAW, we've curated a guide on the most exciting events and experiences taking place. 

The Public Art Trail

Credit: KCAW
'Pinga’ sculpture by Misha MilovanovichCredit: KCAW

Looking for an art-filled adventure and a delightful stroll through the charming neighbourhoods of Kensington and Chelsea? Look no further than KCAW's enchanting Public Art Trail. 

Spanning nine distinctive zones, the Public Art Trail will grace the most picturesque and iconic sites in West London, including the serene Napoleon Garden in Holland Park, Earl's Court, Notting Hill Gate and the bustling Duke of York Square. 

The trail features a stellar lineup of sculptures, installations, and exhibits by renowned artists including Ai Weiwei, Misha Milovanovich, Baker & Borowski, Josephine Chime, Satur Chong, Lucy Oates, Malgorzata Lisiecka, Norma D Hunter, and Peter Morris. 

Ai Weiwei, one of the most significant and recognised artists working today, presents his marble chairs for visitors of the art trail. These sculptures are replicas of chairs that once belonged to Weiwei's father and can be admired outside the Design Museum. Notably, the museum is currently hosting a major exhibition curated by Weiwei himself, delving into his artistic exploration of design and its profound implications.

Credit: KCAW
''The Cloud House Wendy House' by Peter MorrisCredit: KCAW

Architect, artist, and illustrator Peter Morris unveils his latest creation, The Cloud House Wendy House, in Napoleon Garden, Holland Park. This magnificent sculpture draws inspiration from a house Morris plans to build for his own family in North London. It offers a unique interpretation of a Wendy House, with an open-framed structure that invites the public inside. The Cloud House serves as a playful haven for children, igniting their imaginations while also evoking delightful nostalgia for adults.

Kensington & Chelsea changed me, and this artwork reflects and celebrates that change.
Peter Morris
Credti: KCAW
‘Detangling the MBS’ by Josephine ChimeCredti: KCAW

Another highlight of the art trail includes a sculpture titled, 'Detangling the MBS,' by mixed-media artist Josephine Chime (located at One Hoopers Court in Knightsbridge). MBS stands for mind, body, and soul, and this artwork invites viewers to engage in healthy self-reflection and to recognise the offerings of life and self-worth.

The Public Art Trail runs from 16 June through to 31 August. 

What else is taking place during Kensington + Chelsea Art Week?

Credit: KCAW
Exterior shot of the Design Museum, showcasing Ai Weiwei's 'Marble Chairs'Credit: KCAW

Kensington Chelsea Art Week also promises an exciting lineup of tours, talks, events and performances.  

One of the highlights is the panel talk, "Imagining Future Cities: Culture + Architecture + Art," hosted by KCAW director Vestalia Chilton. This discussion will take place at Empress Place, Earl's Court on 28 June  and will feature esteemed architects, academics, and artists. The panelists, including Dr. Georges Kachaamy, Victoria Whenray, and Lucy Oates, will delve into the question of how art can help foster connections with the local community through arts and culture. 

Adding to the artistic tapestry of KCAW, a ten-day digital project will be launched at the Exhibitionist Hotel. Created by London-born South Asian artist Saira Jamieson, this immersive project seamlessly combines traditional skills with modern technology, resulting in a rich and deeply personal narrative. As an official partner of KCAW, Jamieson will also host a series of evenings at the hotel, showcasing talents from the realms of music, spoken word, performing arts, and culinary arts.

Collaborating with KCAW and the Mayor of London's "Untold Stories" Fund, Black Blossoms and artists Bokani and Birungi Kawooya will host a unique Flashmob meditation session at The Design Museum. Taking place on 28 June in the museum's stunning atrium, amidst Ai Weiwei's solo exhibition, this event offers a moment of respite and introspection. 

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For enthusiasts of performance art, a must-see is Malaysian artist Satur Chong's thought-provoking piece titled "Man Hole Tea Ceremony," which will be presented at 25 Thurloe Street in South Kensington on 24 and 25 June. Chong invites random members of the public to participate in a pretend ceremony of drinking tea, taking place around a manhole. 

Furthermore, this summer marks the return of KCAW x Chelsea Windows, a beloved local initiative now in its fourth year, supported by Sloane Stanley and curated by Jack Trodd. Visitors can delight in carefully curated art displays by emerging London-based talent exhibited in shop windows and retail spaces along the iconic King's Road, leading towards World's End. This project, at its core, aims to support the careers of noteworthy young artists, with all sales directly benefiting the artists themselves.

To secure your spot at these events, makesure to reserve your tickets in advance by visiting KCAW's website

Kensington + Chelsea Art Week runs from 22 June to 2 July 2023. The Public Art Trail continues until 31 August 2023.

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