Winners of CREATE Art Award in 2012 host boroughs announced

Embargoed to midday, 26th January 2009


Two euphoric and highly engaging participatory art events have been chosen as the joint winners of the first Bank of America Create Art Award. Both involve and celebrate the people living in the five host boroughs for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and they are the first major artworks to be commissioned to engage those people living closest to the Games. The winners will be publically announced at an evening award ceremony on Monday 26th January.

The Bank of America Create Art Award was established to encourage artists living and working in the five host boroughs to create a temporary or permanent artwork that engages and enriches the lives of the people living around them. The artworks will both be unveiled this summer as part of CREATE 09 – the annual arts festival hosted by the five host boroughs.

The first award winner is Station House Opera and their project Dominoes. 50,000 breeze blocks will be set up like a row of dominoes running through all five host boroughs. A starting ceremony will see the first block being pushed over, setting in motion a slow toppling of blocks that will take several hours to complete, and resulting in a grand finale in the evening.

The route passes through a variety of places - across parks, school playgrounds, estates, industrial sites, paths, waterways, bridges and underpasses, major trunk routes, as well as residential districts extending across the whole spectrum of environments within the five host boroughs. The artwork uses breeze blocks in a moving sculpture which links the five boroughs of Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest and the people who live in them. People living along and around the route will be able to get involved, and can find out more at

The second winner is Joshua Sofaer and his unique project Rooted in the Earth. Inspired by the Olympic winners of ancient Greece being awarded a single laurel wreath, Rooted in the Earth celebrates unsung heroes, and asks Londoners to laud new role models, with their names being planted as large floral artworks in park flowerbeds.

Nominations for significant individuals or groups, living or dead, are invited from local people or organisations through marketing activity, workshops and local newspapers. Once chosen a team of local volunteers from gardening clubs and allotment organizations will join the artist, a landscape gardener and a horticultural expert to plant the selected name in bedding plants. Nominations can be made through a dedicated website - - from 20th April to 22nd May and people can register their interest until then by emailing

The Bank of America Create Art Award is supported by Bank of America, Arts Council England and the five host boroughs. The judging panel was made up from Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller, Iwona Blazwick OBE, Director of the Whitechapel Gallery, and Artichoke Creative Director, Helen Marriage.

Chairman of the judges, Iwona Blazwick OBE, said:
‘This new award demonstrates the imaginative ways artists can bring art into people’s lives. We were so impressed with Station House Opera and Joshua Sofaer that we decided to give the award to both projects. Though very different they engage with people across the capital, and reflect East London’s position as the most exciting cultural quarter in Europe. The award paves the way for the Cultural Olympiad as east and south east London looks forward with growing excitement to 2012.’

Jonathan Moulds, President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Bank of America, said:
‘Bank of America is committed to supporting programmes that will help culturally revitalise communities and raise the quality of life for their residents. Congratulations to both Station House Opera and Joshua Sofaer on their innovative expressions - we look forward to seeing their projects come to life.’

Moira Sinclair, Executive Director, Arts Council England, London, said:
We congratulate both Station House Opera and Joshua Sofaer, whose inventive commissions will bring people together from the Olympic boroughs in novel ways through the power of really simple but creative ideas. I have no doubt they will be an excellent taster of what we can expect from the CREATE 09 festival and beyond. The exchange of ideas already underway is proving that the Olympics can stimulate creative collaboration, which we hope will last long after 2012.

Speaking on behalf of the Five Host Boroughs, Kim Wright, Hackney Council’s Corporate Director for Community Services, said:
“Art and culture thrives in the neighbourhoods across the Five Host Boroughs and I’m delighted the two winning artworks for CREATE 09 will give residents and local groups the opportunity to get involved in creating a celebration of the arts for London’s Cultural Olympiad in the run up to 2012, leaving a rich legacy for the arts in our communities.

“Dominoes and Rooted In The Earth have the aims of CREATE at their heart – to bring together the physical energy of the sporting with the creative energy of the artistic communities across the Five Host Boroughs, making a valuable contribution to ensuring London’s Games are a truly inclusive Olympiad.”

Joshua Sofaer said:
"I’m really delighted to have been selected for one of these first ever CREATE awards. I hope that Rooted in the Earth will engage lost of residents and people connected to East and South East London and that they will feel inspired to nominate someone important to them or their local community. Personally I am really looking forward to reading the stories that people write in support of the names they propose."

Station House Opera’s artistic director, Julian Maynard Smith, said:
“We’re really delighted to receive the Bank of America CREATE Art Award for Dominoes. It’s one of the biggest projects we’ve undertaken in our 30 year history. Only when you look at the route on a map do you realise quite how big and complex it is. Yet at the centre of the project is something remarkably simple, a line of dominoes toppling over, quietly and steadily making their way along the route. It’s the combination of the simplicity and the huge scale that makes it a really exciting project. We’ll be working with over 2000 volunteers – everyone living and working along the route will be involved in making the project a success.”

Dominoes and Rooted in the Earth will take place in June and July during CREATE 09. As the first of four commissions to be awarded every year for the next four years, the Bank of America Create Art Award is a significant part of CREATE. In the run up to 2012 and beyond, the five host boroughs are working together with leading arts organisations, venues and practitioners from across East and South East London to develop an Edinburgh Fringe style festival. This year’s two winning projects will share more than £80,000 in prize money and are the very first commissions for this new London arts festival.