Hi, my name is Chantal Joffe and I’m a painter.
Crossrail is putting art into some of the stations on the Elizabeth line and I’m working
on the one for Whitechapel, which is a priviledge. My idea of a really nice way to spend a Sunday
is to walk up to Whitechapel, Brick Lane. Working on the piece began by thinking about
the neighbourhood and the people who live there. It’s a very beautiful area and very
vivid and full of people and my daughter and I would come on a Sunday afternoon and I would
sit around and look and think and paint pictures and draw.
My piece is called “A Sunday Afternoon in Whitechapel”. The piece I’ve made involves
large-scale collages on thin sheets of aluminium, in very bright colours of figures that will
sort of come above the benches on the platform and kind of curve protectively over the people
sitting on them. I liked the idea of creating an identity for
the station, which is a very beautiful architectural space and I wanted the art in it to link the
underground with the above ground, with the place you’ve arrived at and the sense of Whitechapel
as a bustling, inner-city place, with a hospital and a market. I really wanted you to feel
that sort of aliveness, in the same way that in other places in London, when you get to
somewhere like Tottenham Court Road that you’d identify with Paolozzi, or Baker Street with
Sherlock Holmes, I really wanted you to feel very strongly “I know where this is, this
is Whitechapel”. That’s seemed really important.
The station will open in December 2018, which feels quite soon and incredibly exciting and
terrifying and yeah, an amazing thing to happen in London and in east London.