Rising majestically from the grass in front of City Hall, as if the earth has swallowed part of her hull, is a life-size skeletal wreck of a ship, built from reclaimed timber.
Constructed in situ throughout the week prior to the Festival by artists Becci Kenning and Zach Walker and designer-maker Ian Pilditch, the wreck will bring together the work of 3,000 children in 100 primary schools from every London borough – who have been working on the project since March.
Artists ran workshops in each school to create a collage, experimenting with the mediums of photography, drawing and painting, inspired by texture and colour from along the River Thames. Each pupil-created collage will be printed, frame-stretched and then riveted onto the ship's timber skeleton.
In addition to the visual artworks, there is an aural treat in store. The pupils have written poems which will be recorded and played inside the sculpture; the sound installation Voices of a Ship recreating whispers from the ship's past.
Over the festival weekend, members of the public are encouraged to add to the project by creating large-scale panels, very similar to the panels each school has created. They will pick an image from the pack of squares and then paint their version within a marked square within the panel. They will use brushes, sponges and their fingers in the same way the children were encouraged to do within the school workshops.