Ealing Leader unveils new art sculpture and public plaza at Acton Gardens

Cllr Peter Mason, Leader of Ealing Council, unveiled a new piece of public artwork at the opening of the Central Plaza at Acton Gardens, Countryside Partnerships’ and L&Q’s regeneration of the former South Acton estate in west London in partnership with Ealing Council.

Designed by London-based artist and former South Acton resident, Adébayo Bolaji, ‘The People’s Throne’ has been designed to represent the local community, with the sculpture incorporating seven key values about Acton Gardens. 

The sculpture is the focal point of the newly enhanced Central Plaza at Acton Gardens, and was officially opened by Adébayo alongside Cllr Peter Mason, the Leader of Ealing Council, and representatives from Countryside Partnerships, L&Q and the Acton Gardens Community Board.

Central Plaza sits at the heart of Acton Gardens and is a prominent new meeting point for the community, with places to sit, play and exercise, including an exciting children’s play area that frames Phase 8.2 and Phase 6.1. Phase 8.2 has been designed to enhance connections across the development, with Central Plaza framing the new primary link from Strafford Road to Avenue Park Road, linking the Acton Gardens Community Centre at the heart of the neighbourhood with the recently completed Phase 7.1 to the north.

‘The People’s Throne’ sculpture incorporates a mural on the reverse which was designed with help from the local community and the youth centre, which Adé used to attend. This was achieved through a series of workshops that were hosted by Adé at the Acton Gardens Community Centre to develop his ideas, as well as working closely with those interested in the arts to create the sculpture. 

Following the unveiling of the sculpture, the community took part in a series of art-centred activities and sessions in partnership with local charities and Community Chest fund recipients. Young Urban Art Foundation were also in attendance delivering four different workshops, comprising music production, DJ workshops, Vocal recording, production and lyric writing and T-Art (Stencils on T-Shirts).

Adébayo Bolaji commented: “I am grateful for the opportunity to create ‘The People’s Throne’ for the new public square at the estate where I grew up. I wanted to respond to the spirit of the space, the actual space of the park, and also to the many positive memories I had as a child in this space. Children give us a sense of playfulness and wonder, a real sense of freedom, liberation and curiosity. I think these are qualities that we should never lose, qualities that being comfort and progress. 

I also love the symbol of the throne, but from the point of view of authority that empowers an individual and people, it really is for the people, especially since I spent a lot of time in the local community to draw inspiration for this piece.”

 Councillor Peter Mason, Ealing Council’s leader, said: “We are delighted to be opening this new park. We know that access to spaces like this is so important for our health and wellbeing, and that parks and open spaces have huge benefits when it comes to air quality, environmental sustainability and climate resilience. It was also a real pleasure to see ‘The People’s Throne’ unveiled – a piece which encapsulates the community pride and identity here in Acton.”

Adé is a London-based artist with a burgeoning profile, with work previously featured in the New York Times and Forbes Magazine. Adé draws inspiration from his time spent living on the South Acton estate.

The new sculpture builds on existing public art at Acton Gardens, which includes the ‘South Acton Tree of Life’, a mural created by internationally renowned artist Carrie Reichard working alongside community groups.

Acton Gardens is a 52-acre comprehensive redevelopment of the former South Acton estate – a £800 million investment creating 3,463 new mixed-tenure homes. The development delivers 50% affordable housing and more social rent homes than previously existed on the estate before the project commenced.  

Daniel King, Managing Director, London West, Countryside Partnerships, said: “’The People’s Throne’ symbolises the importance of the local community to the Acton Gardens regeneration. The sculpture has been designed by a former resident of the South Acton estate, Adé Bolaji, with input from current residents, and it is a monument that everyone can be proud of to represent the incredible community here. It is also the centrepiece of the new Central Plaza, which will become a key hub for the local community at the centre of Acton Gardens and reflects how far we have come in our delivery of over 3,400 new, high-quality homes and community facilities in partnership with L&Q and Ealing Council.”

Darren Parker, Director of Development and Regeneration at L&Q commented:

“At L&Q we always place residents and their local community at the heart of everything we do, so it will be great to have their history and experiences represented in art form physically at the heart of Acton Gardens. We are grateful for Adé’s great work and for having The People’s Throne in our new public square.

 “At the same time, we are thankful for the continued partnership work with Countryside Partnerships and the support of Ealing Council throughout the ten years we’ve already been active on site, and in the years to come.”

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