The Portobello Road Arts Project is an annual public art commission. It has taken me a while to tell you about this but maybe now that you are allowed out you can pop down and see the exhibition along the stretch of brick wall linking two of the most vibrant and well known market areas in London, Portobello Road and Golborne Road.


Tony Thomas is behind this year’s  ( 2019 ) winning proposal, he uses a collaborative approach to create an art installation showcasing work from across the arts spectrum, juxtaposing illustration with photography, electronic with acoustic sounds, ballet with carnival parades. 

In Tony’s words, “The commission has allowed me to connect to many different communities in West London. Each one makes and enjoys different music from around the world. This includes leading London jazz players, Steelpan from the Caribbean, punk, and digital music. Portobello Road reflects the richly diverse community of London and it has been great to be welcomed by all and engage them in my work. Rhythm and Sound in North Kensington is a community-wide positive thread that runs through the history of the area and is worth celebrating. As John McLaughlin says, ‘The mathematics of rhythm are universal. They don’t belong to any particular culture’.”


 The theme for this year’s commission challenged artists to represent the rhythm and sounds woven into the rich cultural heritage, identity and place of North Kensington. This edition marks the twelfth installation to be commissioned for the Portobello Wall Public Art Project. The project is commissioned by The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Arts Service. I am happy to let you know that one of my photos from Mark Ellies dance classes is up there next to all the rest. The Portobello Wall Public Art Project ‘Rhythm and Sound’ is a public display of static wall-mounted art with an interactive twist triggered via your smartphone. Scan the array of QR codes and use Snapchat on your phone to unlock an innovative selection of information or of Snapchat AR filters, via the codes situated around the art display. Make music on an AR steel pan or play a floating 3-octave rainbow keyboard in mid-air! Unlock these codes to open a whole new world of mind-boggling Augmented Reality.

With Thanks: Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Arts Service, Carnival Village Trust, Certain Blacks, The Audio Engineer Society, Portobello Radio, The British Association of Steel Bands, Coloursonics, Shannon Ribbons, and Jean-Paul Pirie for technical direction. QR Code illustrator: Martin Abel.

Photographers and illustrators involved:  Stephen Spark, Wayne Crichlow, Jason Garcia, Benjamin Salmon, Carl Gabriel, Peoples Sound, Tara Hobson, Kevin Joseph, Nick Anthony Fiorenza, Moose Azim, Bread and Shutter, Collin Hill, Jim Linwood, John Joe Coffey, Oxford Gardens Primary School, Benjamin Salmon, and Victor Novais.

moose with Portobello Wall image

This is me taken by my daughter in January 2020

images from Portobello Wall Art commission

Here are some more from the original shoot at the dance classes that Mark Ellie has been running since the 80’s

Portobello Dance Classes

And lastly here is Mark Ellie giving me the biggest hug ( obviously before the whole 2 metre thing )

Mark Ellie