Grayson Perry unveils first permanent public sculpture in London

Grayson Perry illuminates the courtyard of A House for Artists with his new permanent public artwork in London, Inspiration Lives Here, a monument to the history of Barking & Dagenham

Grayson Perry public art commission London
Grayson Perry Inspiration Lives Here, commissioned by Create London
(Image credit: Photography: Thierry Bal )

Grayson Perry’s tapestries, vases and intricate drawings rarely reach monumental scales, and aside from his architectural House for Essex, he doesn't often unveil permanent public art projects. 

Perry’s first public artwork in London, Inspiration Lives Here, 2022, welcomes visitors to the concrete complex at A House for Artists, illuminating the entrance passage in a lamp-come-monument. 

A House for Artists is an artists’ living space commissioned by Create London and completed in 2021, providing flexible dwellings for 12 creatives and their families. Its concrete structure is made up of cubic and triangular forms and holds both public- and private-facing utilities. Its diverse housing model – designed by London-based architecture studio Apparata – has room for public arts programmes, studio spaces and indoor and outdoor communal living spaces, imagined for parties and co-working. 

Grayson Perry: Inspiration Lives Here

Grayson Perry Public art commission London, Inspiration Lives Here, miniature car beside miniature house

Detail of Inspiration Lives Here by Grayson Perry, commissioned by Create London

(Image credit: Julia Forsman)

Contextualised by the communal space, Perry created the sculpture as an ode to social housing and, commissioned by Create London and funded by Art Fund, it is an emblem of the expanding arts programme in Barking & Dagenham. Referencing the history of the nearby Becontree Estate as a home to wartime heroes and workers from the local Ford factory, the lamp’s light spills from the windows of a house onto a Ford car and Transit van and (made from hand-painted Corten steel) is designed to visibly weather over time. 

On the shifting narrative surrounding art in the London borough, Marie Bak Mortensen, director of Create London explains that the project ‘continues our mission to dissolve traditional hierarchies between the art world and the everyday, bringing first-class art to areas where it is least expected’.

createlondon.org (opens in new tab); artfund.org (opens in new tab)

Grayson Perry first permanent public artwork in London, miniature houses

Detail of Inspiration Lives Here by Grayson Perry, commissioned by Create London

(Image credit: Julia Forsman)

Grayson Perry first public artwork in London, a sculpture of miniature houses, lit up from within

Inspiration Lives Here by Grayson Perry, commissioned by Create London

(Image credit: Thierry Bal)

Martha Elliott is the Junior Digital News Editor at Wallpaper*. After graduating from university she worked in arts-based behavioural therapy, then embarked on a career in journalism, joining Wallpaper* at the start of 2022. She reports on art, design and architecture, as well as covering regular news stories across all channels.