Of all the dozens of substantial artistic projects designed around the Olympics, The World in London, in its simplicity, is one of the most appealing. From tomorrow, large-scale portraits of 200-odd Londoners, each representing an Olympic nation, will look down from either the BT London Live site in Victoria Park or the facade of a new development in Oxford Street (Nos. 453 to 497).
The recently relaunched Photographers’ Gallery in Soho is responsible for this series of portraits, commissioning a photographer for each subject over several years. Most of the sitters are ordinary folk but for the UK, American photographer Andres Serrano produced a portrait of the late Alexander McQueen.
Organisers haven’t quite reached their aim of finding Londoners from all 204 Olympic nations, with American Samoa, FS Micronesia, Guam, Marshall Islands, Nauru and Palau all missing. Despite the exhibition opening, the search is still on — if you know any Londoners from these remote countries, let us know.
The project is accompanied by a fantastic website, which details the back-stories of the contributors. After the exhibition, the photos and accompanying materials will be handed over to the Museum of London for posterity.
The World in London opens at Victoria Park and Park House (453 – 497 Oxford Street) tomorrow, 27 July, and run until 12 and 30 August 2012 respectively. All photos courtesy of The Photographers’ Gallery.