'A bit of magic’: installation featuring stories of Havering locals coming to Romford

The installation will be designed so light shines in through various windows at certain moments of the day

The installation will be designed so light shines in through various windows at certain moments of the day - Credit: David Shearing

Romford locals and visitors alike will be invited to reflect on the changing identities and complexities of the area in a new exhibition this summer. 

David Shearing, 38, an award-winning Romford-born artist, and his collective Variable Matter have designed a physical project to sit in the town’s market square in July.  

Entitled The Rising Sun, it will be built to look like a pub on the outside because of the types of philosophical conversations encouraged by such a setting. 

Inside, spectators will be treated to a changing haze of light directed by windows carefully installed around the construction, while audio will be played of local people telling their tales from living in the area. 

Commissioned in partnership with Romford Business Improvement District (BID), Queen’s Theatre and Havering Changing, the project is part of a borough-wide strategy to find new ways to engage people in arts and culture. 

David, now living in Ilford, said the work is meant to provide a sense of space, while also shining a light on those living in Havering. 

“These works, for me, they intervene in public life," he said. "They create an intervention that makes us stop and reflect. 

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“I think there’s something really special to creating spaces that challenge or offer other ways for our use of public space.” 

David Shearing

David Shearing - Credit: Tom Joy

On his expectations for the project, David said: “I think people are going to get a real sense of reflection and I think that’s really important." 

“I hope people get a bit of magic out of this,” he added. 

Mathew Russell, Queen's Theatre’s executive director, said: “Romford high street is dear to our heart, and it's brilliant that an award-winning artist of David Shearing's stature is creating work for an iconic public space in Havering for the very first time.

"It's definitely going to be a highlight of this summer."  

Julie Frost, Romford BID director, added: “Town centres can no longer be conceived as merely places of economic exchange. Rather they must be understood as areas which are to provide an 'experience'.  

“The Rising Sun captures the very essence of this.” 

An interactive digital website will also be available, where visitors can remotely filter through the stories collected and told. 

The project will run from July 15 to July 30 from 8am to 8pm. 

Entry will be free.