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In the frame

Sonia Boyce’s Crossrail journey brings to light the Bombardier beetle

Sonia Boyce courtesy Royal Academy

Sonia Boyce is uncovering all sorts of fascinating facts about London’s East End while making the longest public art work ever seen in the UK. The London-based artist is working with local communities to produce a mural for the 1.8-kilometre wall running through Custom House, Silvertown and North Woolwich as part of the Crossrail transport project. “[The mural] is going to be printed in sections featuring stories intertwined with images of local flora and fauna,” Boyce told Frieze magazine, adding that she has been inspired by William Morris’s patterns and Islamic geometry. “I’ve learned so much about the area. For example, there’s a hybrid Bombardier beetle that is only found in the docks; it’s most likely that it once arrived on a ship and, over the years, has adapted to the local terrain,” Boyce explains. Her final design is due to be unveiled this summer according to the Crossrail website; the first part of the Crossrail scheme—known as the Elizabeth line—launches in December.