Artist commissioned for St Francis at the Engine Room
Internationally renowned artist Graeme Mortimer Evelyn has been appointed to create a Reredos for the new church in Tottenham Hale, St Francis at the Engine Room.
St Francis at the Engine Room is a community centre and the first new Anglican church to be erected in London in almost 40 years. Spearheaded by the Diocese of London working in partnership with Lee Valley Estates, Newlon Housing Trust and London City Mission, it has been created to put a community resource and place of worship at the heart of the new housing development in the Hale Village.
The Engine Room has been running art workshops for all primary aged children since it opened in 2013, which regularly attract around 20 children every week. The Engine Room also runs regular ‘Art Days’ for people of all ages, with the last day taking place in October and attracting over 30 people.
It is hoped that Graeme’s work will encourage them in their art and he hopes to use the project to mentor a local young artist, and inspire local people to connect with their environment. He will work in Tottenham for the next six months, getting to know local residents and reflecting something of their experience in the finished piece.
The artwork will sit behind the altar in the main worship space, providing a focal point in the church space. It was commissioned to reflect people, place and God.
Graeme Mortimer Evelyn, the artist commissioned to create the Reredos, said:
“I am very excited to have been selected to create such an important artwork for the community in Tottenham.
“I am sincerely grateful to Lee Valley Estates for accommodating my studio locally for the next six months, so I can get to know local residents and the Tottenham area, which will inform my creative process and make sure their experiences and future aspirations are reflected in the final altarpiece.
“My hope is that this work will not only reflect the lived experiences of those in the community, but also represent the important work the Engine Room does to support, lift and inspire those who live in Hale Village, whilst representing a lasting legacy of diverse community unity for many others into the future.”
The Engine Room Community Centre and St Francis Church is situated opposite where the London riots started in 2011 and is part of a major redevelopment project in the local area. The Hale Village development in Tottenham Hale will see accommodation developed for 16,000 new residents over the next 10-15 years on the boundaries of St Mary’s and Holy Trinity Tottenham.
The Engine Room serves Hale Village estate, and the neighbouring estate of Ferry Lane, with the wider area among the 10% most deprived in England. It seeks to invest in the lives of local people, helping communities in practical ways, providing safe spaces for children to learn and play and helping unemployed people learn new skills to get back to work.
The Revd Andrew Williams, Priest Missioner at St Francis at the Engine Room, said:
“We are delighted that Graeme Evelyn has been appointed to create a piece of art that will serve as the focal point of this space. It has been a true privilege to see this community and Church grow since the inception of this project and we are looking forward to providing a communal space in Tottenham for generations to come.”
The artwork competition was launched in July 2016 and attracted entries from 21 artists across the Capital and throughout the UK. The competition makes use of the Creatives Network established as part of Capital Vision 2020, the Diocese of London’s strategy to serve the people of London in ways that are confident, compassionate and creative.