Larry Achiampong, a British Ghanaian artist and alumnus of the Fine Art Mixed Media BA Honours course from the University of Westminster, in cooperation with architect Jayden Ali, has won the V&A East Museum Why We Make galleries design competition, opening in 2025.
The galleries will be situated across two floors and will showcase global creativity from a contemporary view. The aim is to celebrate the transformative potential of art and design by bringing together over 500 objects of 5,000 years of art, design, and performance from the V&A’s collection. The V&A East Museum will open in 2024 as part of the Mayor of London’s new cultural quarter in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
According to E-Architect, Archiampong and Ali impressed the selection panel with coherent, dynamic, and captivating concept designs, incorporating sustainable materials and focusing on local production with great understanding of East London. They are also committed to increasing representation by supporting the V&A East Youth Collective Programme with RESOLVE, targeting local youth aged between 16 and 24, to work on a series of installations across the Olympic boroughs. Another element the panel highlighted is how Archiampong and Ali’s idea of immersive visitor experiences can work alongside quieter options.
V&A East Museum will be showcasing new acquisitions to tell stories about contemporary creativity and motivations for creating, such as self-expression, creative experimentation or ways in which art, design and performance reflects on social, cultural, and environmental issues.
The main exhibition hall will present shows with leading artists, designers and performers, and the two galleries will explore global making with live activations and dynamic collection displays, while also presenting stories of East London’s manufacturing heritage with local creators.
Achiampong seeks to promote inclusion, marginalised identities, and perspectives as the foundation of the V&A East Museum design brief. As part of his portfolio, he works on solo and collaborative projects, using film, still imagery, aural and visual archives, live performance, objects, and sound to explore ideas surrounding class, gender, cross-cultural and digital identity. His creations represent his communal and personal heritage, mainly the intersection between popular culture and postcolonialism.
His recent projects include commissions with The Line, London; The Liverpool Biennial 2021; Art on the Underground; Roundel designs; and a permanent sculptural intervention for Transport for London’s Westminster Underground Station between 2019 and 2022.
“Achiampong has supported undergraduate Westminster students with the Westminster Working Cultures UK programme in June 2022, coordinating a visit to his exhibition in the Turner Contemporary and hosting a talk. During his session, Larry highlighted the importance of empathy, alongside showcasing the value of artwork in connecting people to societal injustices and inequalities, empowering students to communicate their truth. We are extremely proud of his success.” – said The Alumni Team.