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Steve McQueen and his most ambitious project yet

PICTURED: Sadiq Khan

MORE THAN 1,500 schools have signed up to an ambitious photography project organised by Steve McQueen.

The Turner Prize-winning artist and Oscar-winning filmmaker has enlisted over half of London’s primary schools so far for what has been billed as the world’s most ambitious contemporary art project – the results of which will be unveiled at the Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain until May next year.

Through a partnership between Tate Britain, Artangel and A New Direction, all these classes are being specially photographed to create a mass portrait representing an entire age group of Londoners.

Over the course of this academic year, an estimated 65,000 seven- and eight-year-old children will be photographed for the project. Talking to The Voice, McQueen said he wanted all schools to get involved.

“We’re closer to 1,600 schools at the last count and they are coming in everyday,” he enthused. “It’s heartwarming but at the end of the day I don’t want any regrets, I don’t want anyone to miss out on this project – I want everyone to be involved.”

McQueen admitted earlier this year that when the project was first announced he had “no idea how people would react” – but the response has seen over 55 per cent of all the schools in London sign up so far. The deadline for those who still wish to get involved is April 5.

“I’m truly moved to see so many schools from across London sign up so quickly and I’d like to thank them all for helping to make this idea a reality,” McQueen said.

Looking deeper into what this project can offer children residually, he added: “I think what gives us is possibilities. It particularly gives you opportunities to play, to experiment, to practice and make mistakes. Making mistakes is OK because through them you find out what you want to do, it sharpens your knowledge and sense of what you want.

“Through art and education, you can learn how you can be a computer programmer or a great engineer.”

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“My friend Jony Ive, who designed the iPhone, got into designing phones after going to the Royal College of Art where he really wanted to design cars. It’s not just about wanting to be an artist, it’s about how you have the possibilities to play and improve.”

All schools across London with Year 3 pupils are invited to sign-up to the Tate Year 3 Project before April 5. To do so, visit tateyear3project.org.uk. The resulting exhibition of photographs will be on display at Tate Britain for six months between November and May 2020.

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