09 Monday 09th August 2010

The Westway, located under Portobello Road, is home to skaters, creatives and street artists alike, and is one of the biggest open-air canvasses in London. Shift-Work is a new creative project where legendary street artists ‘clock in’ for their allotted shifts to repaint the huge space. Running this whole week, Shift Work finishes with a public view on Friday to see the whole exhibition in its glory. The public can also attend during the week, and experience a rare opportunity to see names such as Pure Evil, Blek Le Rat, Bleach and T.Wat at work.

Shift-Work was conceived by Keh Hui Ng, founder of Portobello Art Under The Westway, an arts initiative encouraging you to pull out your sharpies, or if you're a real artist, your paintbrushes and spray cans, and to utilise the space as a canvas. With a background as a fine artist and curator, in both London and Sydney, Shift-Work was born out of a desire to open an outdoor gallery preserving the previous artwork all over the walls.
"Unfortunately or fortunately for us, some vandal(s) who will remain unnamed for this interview decided to tag all over the works in the space before we got to set the wheels into motion. Initially I was pretty devastated by the damage done but I suppose this is a reality of street art. And it had created an opportunity for us”, explained Ng. “The idea behind Shift Work is to get this kind of art, which is usually done covertly, to show the process and thought behind it in an open manner."
Contemporary fine art photographer Tina Hage, represented by the Swiss Museum of Photography and the Rehbein Gallery in Cologne, for example, has some exciting work in motion. Photocopy street collagist Macay has also just been confirmed.
Furthermore, Shift-Work is also supported by the Pure Evil gallery and Graffik, helping to gather some the best-known local talent clocking in to work their magic.
For those wanting a little more variety, the Pop Up Cinema will be running their outdoor cinema programme, and the Saturday Art and Design Market will be running during the public view.
"I would like to see artists and audiences enjoying the space as it was meant to be used. There is such a great and long history of graffiti and street art that lie layered behind these walls. This show is by no means the first or the last show of this kind in this space, and I am privileged to be a small part of it."
Shift-Work looks to be a huge success, and if this week goes well, there are talks of making it an annual event and starting an outdoor gallery to preserve the artwork. With plans for future collaborations with other artists and curators, Shift-Work is set to become a regular part of urban London culture.

Don't Panic attempt to credit photographers and content owners wherever possible, however due to the sheer size and nature of the internet this is sometimes impractical or impossible. If you see any images on our site which you believe belong to yourself or another and we have incorrectly used it please let us know at and we will respond asap.


  • Guest: info
    Mon 16 - Aug - 2010, 19:59
    It was no available for the public last saturday... why? Was it closed?