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27 February 2024



Thousands of selfies needed for new permanent artwork to celebrate face to face events industry

London’s largest exhibition and conference centre ExCeL is calling on the events industry – including public visitors, organisers, exhibitors and suppliers – to share images they’ve taken in and around the venue for potential inclusion in a new permanent artwork.

London-based artist Helen Marshall, famous for creating giant mosaics made up of thousands of individual portraits, is inviting people to share their pictures – including selfies – inspired by their memories and connections to ExCeL London. 

The commission, entitled Face to Face: Connecting Lives, will mark the opening of the venue’s new 25,000sqm expansion – which will see it become the largest integrated venue in Europe – as well as its 25th anniversary which it celebrates next year.

Between 4,000 and 5,000 images are needed to create the giant artwork, which will stand some six metres wide and be positioned in the venue’s atrium for visitors to see. People will also be able to submit a short explanation of their image to help inspire the artist.

Opened in 2000, ExCeL now hosts some of the most influential trade, sporting and medical events including World Travel Market, Formula E and the European Society of Cardiology. It attracts around four million visitors a year, a quarter of which come from overseas, and supports (directly and indirectly) almost 40,000 jobs throughout the events industry.

Artist Marshall commented: “For almost 25 years, ExCeL has been a key part of London’s Royal Docks and a place where millions of people have gathered to trade, learn and share experiences, and it is this that we want to try and capture. Connecting our lives and being face to face has a special significance to us all now, and as an artist who has been living and working in East London for 20 years, it really is a privilege to be a part of this project and I’m eager to see what photographs we are sent.”

Opening in October of this year, ExCeL’s new state-of-the-art expansion has been built due to growing demand in the live events sector and will increase the venue’s total capacity to 125,000sqm. 

James Rees, ExCeL’s Executive Director, added: “The events industry has endured a lot in recent years, but the resilience of the sector has never faltered, and London’s face to face events market is now healthier and busier than ever before. The fact that ExCeL is constructing a major expansion is testament to this and so we wanted to truly celebrate this by shining a spotlight on all the amazing people in the industry and of course those who visit ExCeL London.” 

Those wishing to submit images for possible inclusion can do so by visiting Images can even be sent of people working on or visiting forthcoming events in 2024.

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