Coming soon: A new permanent public sculpture by Grayson Perry

Thursday, 10 November 2022

The courtyard of A House for Artists in the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, where the sculpture will be situated. Photo credit: Gili Merin. 

Join us for a special event to welcome Grayson Perry’s new lamp outside A House for Artists on Wednesday 30 November, 4-6pm. Please visit Eventbrite for tickets.

Launching on Wednesday 30 November 2022, Create London is proud to present a permanent public sculpture by Grayson Perry. Titled Inspiration Lives Here, the work will sit in the central courtyard of A House for Artists, in the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham. The new commission will be a two-metre wide lamp, which will act as a beacon to welcome visitors. 

Situated within a diverse, mixed-use quarter in Barking town centre, A House for Artists was launched in December 2021. It was designed to provide sustainable and affordable housing and workspaces for 12 artists and their families. Central to the project is for the resident artists to deliver free, creative activities to the public in the ground floor community space and the shared working yard, which can also be opened for public use.

Contemporary artist, writer and commentator Grayson Perry has been an ambassador for A House for Artists since its inception. Affordable housing for artists has always been a concern for Perry, particularly if it combines art, creativity and living. Inspiration Lives Here will be in the form of a row of semi-detached houses and takes the Becontree Estate in Dagenham as its point of departure. Becontree is the UK’s largest housing estate and was constructed between 1921 and 1935, during the mid-war housing crisis. It is a cottage estate – a type of social housing with roots in the Arts & Crafts tradition.

About the commission, Grayson Perry said “This lamp is a small monument to social housing. I spent half of my childhood living in such a house and most of my extended family lived out their lives in a council house. In a time of unaffordable housing here in the UK a council house seems like an unattainable dream. I wanted the lamp to have an air of nostalgia for a time when people tinkered in sheds and kids ran wild, when the Becontree Estate was the home of wartime heroes and Ford workers. The pale green Ford Anglia was my father’s first car.”

A nod to the history of car producing in Dagenham, Perry’s lamp is complete with a Ford car and transit van parked outside, with light spilling out through the house and vehicle windows. The design of the sculpture also serves as a reminder of the connection between Barking (where A House for Artists is situated) and Dagenham (former site of the Ford factory). This juxtaposition represents two halves of a borough which has suffered from civic disconnection in its recent past. The sculpture is made of Corten steel designed to weather over time, and hand-painted.

The launch of Inspiration Lives Here will include a special event for local residents and schools to engage with the lamp and marks the beginning of a programme of social and creative activity at A House for Artists, organised by the resident artists. This includes a series of ongoing free, drop-in coffee mornings and workshops.

Inspiration Lives Here by Grayson Perry has been commissioned by Create London and funded by Art Fund. It has been realised in collaboration with the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham and the BEC (Barking Enterprise Centre).