SOFITEL WELCOMES BACK LONDONER’S
WITH JOIE DE VIVRE
ANNOUNCING ‘SILVER LINING’
A NEW MAJOR ART INSTALLATION IN ST JAMES’S
A new public artwork and first-time collaboration between critically acclaimed MTArt Agency represented artists Ania Catherine, Dejha Ti and poet Greta Bellamacina embellishes London with a glittering streak of optimism
LONDON, September 2020 – Sofitel, the ambassador of modern French style, is to share ‘Joie de Vivre’ (The Joy of Life) with London from 28 September – 19 October through Silver Lining, a major new art installation situated in the St James’s locale to inspire passers-by to look for the silver lining in life as they navigate this new era.
Located within the world-renowned neighbourhood of St James’s, found nestled between Haymarket and Piccadilly within the City of Westminster, Silver Lining will be a metaphorical ‘welcome back’ to the Capital with a surrealist work marking the first ever collaboration between MTArt Agency’s artist duo Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti and the esteemed poet Greta Bellamacina.
The commission, which brings to life Sofitel’s much-loved ‘Joie de vivre’ philosophy, will see numerous locations within St James’s creatively re-imagined by Catherine and Ti with shimmering ribbons of silver, interwoven with a powerful, hope-filled verse from Bellamacina’s inspirational poem which has been uniquely conceived as part of the commission.
An instinctive fit, Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti take a surrealist approach to the Silver Lining concept. Employing nuance within scale, they focus on producing an emotional response instead of a spectacle for their audience when being immersed in the artwork. Poet, filmmaker and actress Greta Bellamacina’s moving poem responds to this emotional ambition with thought-provoking, uplifting reflections about each and every day. MTArt Agency’s expertise lies in telling stories through art by incredible artists. By creating this public art project that resonates with the local community, it will encourage visitors to view St James’s in a new and playful manner.
Silver Lining presents an artistic walking route that highlights a variety of treasures found within St James’s, renowned for its unparalleled experience of art and craftmanship. The route includes: Waterloo Place: St James’s Market, The Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain (commonly known as ‘The Eros Fountain’) in Piccadilly Circus and Princes Arcade on Jermyn Street. Each location aims to surprise, delight and provide an impactful personal experience for all who see it.
Silver Lining will form part of Westminster City Council’s Inside Out Festival which will see a range of arts and cultural activities taking place on the streets of Westminster from 1 October.
Upon de-installation of the work, the artists will repurpose all the silver lining and use it as source material for a limited series of abstract works on canvas, the first time Ti and Catherine will work in that format. Their repurposing of materials is their way to preserve and hold the essence, the air and the passers-by that touched the silver at this time in history, and preserve it in a way that can be appreciated and reflected on well beyond the duration of this art installation. It also aligns with their practice to be conscious of and minimize the environmental impact of their work.
Whilst it remains a unique time to explore central London with the streets a little quieter, this mesmerising artwork aims to underpin how the Capital remains alight with enticing creativity and optimism for the future. Whether located in the heart of a bustling city like London, Paris, New York or Sydney or nestled away in the quieter landscapes of Thailand, Egypt or Morocco, every Sofitel address is a call to indulge in, and celebrate, the pleasures of life: To live the French way.
The installation and its beautiful, emotive words aim to serve as an optimistic immersive reminder to us all to enjoy re-exploring London with Joie de vivre.
For more information on Silver Lining, including the route and locations of the artwork, please visit
GRETA BELLAMANCINO SILVER LINING POEM:
BEHIND THE DAY, THE STARS CHIME IN CANDLES
EIGHTY YEARS OF A THOUSAND MORNINGS BURIED IN IMPOSSIBLE MONUMENTS
SOMETHING AS SIMPLE AS A SMILE FROM A STRANGER
THE REBIRTH OF MAGIC IS IN EVERYONE
THE RAIN CLEANS THE TICKS OF THE WILD WIND
THAT GETS IN FROM TIME TO TIME
HOLD UP THE PUDDLES LIKE MAGIC
AND I WILL SWIM ACROSS FOR YOU
YOUR LOVE IS A KINGDOM OF ESCAPE
REBUILDING EVERYTHING SACRED
A PASSAGE OF HOPE
TWO COLOURS HOLDING A SUNRISE
THE MORNING LEAVING THE NIGHT
WE LIVE IN THE CITIES BUT OUR DREAMS ARE WILD GOATS ON THE SIDE OF MOUNTAINS
FARAWAY FROM HERE THERE IS A BONFIRE BLOWING OUT TOWARDS THE SEA, HOLDING AN IMPOSSIBLE KIND OF LOVE THAT HOLDS US THROUGHOUT OUR LIVES
WE SIT ON THE STEPS OF RENAMED STONES
OWNING NOTHING BUT IDEAS OF NEW CIVILISATIONS WE WILL NEVER REACH.
João Rocco, Vice President Sofitel Brand, says:
“With ‘Silver Lining’, Sofitel wishes to add a touch of playful Joie de vivre and sparkle to London, a city that hosts all three of our UK hotels.
“2020 has been a challenging year for us all and through this moving and hope-filled commission, imagined through the first-ever collaborative work of Ania Catherine, Dejha Ti and Greta Bellamacina, we look forward to inspiring locals and visitors to discover their own Silver Lining as they re-explore the treasures of this world-renowned city and neighbourhood.”
Artists Dejha Ti and Ania Catherine, represented by MTArt Agency says: “With this commission by Sofitel, we wanted to create something in the public sphere that could be stumbled upon and serve as a reminder that even through immense loss, turmoil, unexpected changes, and hardship, there is good coming out of this time.
“We imagine children passing by and asking a parent why the steps are painted silver, and that moment sparks an intergenerational knowledge transfer that will remain with the child likely for the rest of their lives: a lesson about how to look for the silver lining in any situation, no matter how bleak. We take a position of heavy optimism, recognizing the difficulties of the past, carrying forward only the aspects of our systems that still serve us, and feeling empowered to discard the rest.
“Voices and perspectives that have never been truly listened to are finally being heard and considered, that is a silver lining.
“People are cherishing the relationships they have and the minutes they have with people they love more than ever, that is a silver lining.
“There is a realisation that we can adapt; we can live, think, create, work, and connect in new ways that one year ago we never could have imagined, that is a silver lining.
“We are living in a potent reminder of how the things we believe to be concrete may actually be malleable, that is a silver lining.
What ideas, movements, communities, forms of life can now thrive, that couldn’t in our existing structures? This new understanding of the agency and power that people have both individually and collectively have, is a silver lining.”
Artist Greta Bellamacina says: “Poetry is like the weather, just when you expect the day to be over there is always a little bit of sunlight left somewhere close waiting to surprise you. Hopefully these words will be a way to bring people closer to that final bit of light and a reminder that hope is closer than you think.
“The coming together of the artists and their mutual creativity perfectly exemplifies Sofitel’s Art of Living. Very much a community project, furthermore, Sofitel recognises the benefit that art provides in fostering happiness, and inspiration in a year that has culminated in a collective craving for positivity. MTArt Agency’s expertise in storytelling and creating public art projects with exciting artists that resonate with the local community will encourage visitors to view St James’s in a new and playful manner.”
Marine Tanguy, MTArt Agency’s Founder says: “MTArt Agency cares deeply about public art projects, and we have been delighted to work with Sofitel and St James’s on this uplifting project, matching our artist’s creative vision to create an immersive experience that encapsulates hope and positivity for the future, We know from the academic studies we have published, and our experience over lockdown, that public art boosts wellbeing, which is more important than ever.”
Oliver Smith, Head of St James’s says, “St James’s is immensely proud to host Silver Lining. As one of London’s most original neighbourhoods, stitched together by craftmanship, this artistic and creative display depicts both the cultural heritage of the area and provides a unique experience for our customers working, shopping and living in St James’s. We look forward to welcoming visitors to The West End to explore the beautiful artwork and poetic words in a safe way.”
@sofitel @MTArtAgency @stjameslondon
For further information, interviews and imagery, please contact:
Hannah Rankine at ANM – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Wilson at Accor – email@example.com
NOTES TO EDITOR:
SOFITEL HOTELS & RESORTS
Sofitel Hotels & Resorts is an ambassador of modern French style, culture and art-de-vivre around the world. Established in 1964, Sofitel is the first international luxury hotel brand to originate from France with almost 120 chic and remarkable hotels in the world’s most sought after destinations. Sofitel exudes a refined and understated sense of modern luxury, always blending a touch of French decadence with the very best of the locale. The Sofitel collection includes such notable hotels as Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg, Sofitel London St James, Sofitel Munich Bayerpost, Sofitel Rio de Janeiro Ipanema, Sofitel Washington DC Lafayette Square, Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour and Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort. Sofitel is part of Accor, a world-leading augmented hospitality group offering unique experiences in 5000 hotels and residences across 110 countries. The 3 UK based properties are Sofitel London St James’s, Hotels Sofitel London Heathrow and Hotel Sofitel London Gatwick. Sofitel.accor.com
ARTISTS DEJHA TI AND ANIA CATHERINE
Dejha Ti and Ania Catherine, represented by MTArt Agency, are an award-winning Los Angeles-based artist duo whose practice merges environments, performance, and creative technology. Both conceptual artists, their expertise collide—Ti with an extensive background in immersive art and human-computer interaction (HCI), and Catherine a recognized choreographer, performance artist and gender scholar. Their work culminates in immersive experiences, drawing audiences into idiosyncratic worlds. Rooted in the understanding that immersion is not only a physical state, but also an emotional and psychological one, their work is defined by nuance within scale, producing a feeling instead of a spectacle. Referred to as “The two critical contemporary voices on digital art’s international stages”(Clot Magazine), their work is recognized internationally, winning the 2020 ADC Awards for Experiential Design (Digital Experiences and Responsive Environments), and shortlisted for the Lumen Prize for Art and Technology. They have been invited to speak about their unique experiential approach at Christie’s Art+Tech Summit, MUTEK, Tech Open Air, KCRW, the Future of Experiential Technology, and the Contemporary and Digital Art Fair, and have been commissioned by A/D/O, SCAD Museum of Art, Art Basel Hong Kong, Adidas, Trauma Bar und Kino, and Harry Potter.
POET GRETA BELLAMACINA
Greta Bellamacina is a poet, filmmaker, actress and model from London. She has previously collaborated with luxury brands including Chanel, Burberry, Fortnum and Mason and Mulberry. In February 2019 she was also commissioned by Valentino to write 10 original poems for Pierpaolo Piccioli’s autumn/winter 2019 collection. In 2016 she made the activist documentary ‘The Safe House A Decline of Ideas’— a love letter to public libraries and a protest against their closure. Her new film ‘Hurt by Paradise’, nominated for the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and Best UK Feature Film at Raindance in 2019 will be released in cinemas in September 2020. She has published multiple poetry collections and released her fourth book earlier this year.
ABOUT MTART AGENCY
MTArt Agency is an award winning talent agency that was recently appointed as a B Corp. Back in 2017, Marine Tanguy, founder of MTArt Agency, gave a prominent TEDx Talk on the future of public art at King’s College London. She also co-published an academic paper that proved that over 84% of people valued public art. MTArt Agency represents some of the world’s most exciting up and coming visual artists, and partner with brands and organisations to create meaningful and impactful projects with art.
For over 300 years, St James’s has had a long-established reputation as the home of fine food, culinary expertise and innovation. It is one of London’s most original and compelling districts, defined by its unique mix of contemporary and heritage brands from Sunspel and Cubitts to Turnbull & Asser and Lock & Co. It is also home to the city’s most influential collection of art galleries including the Royal Academy of Arts, the ICA and Christie’s. With an unparalleled restaurant scene, St James’s has become the home of a spectacular range of international cuisine from the eclectic modern offerings of Café Murano, Milos, and Michelin-starred Ikoyi to the iconic British offerings from the local establishments such as Franco’s, Rowley’s, Fortnum & Mason and Wilton’s. St James’s Market is one of the latest redevelopments to be delivered in St James’s, a landmark development that occupies the area between Regent Street St James’s and Haymarket, boasting luxury office space alongside lifestyle retail and seven new restaurants centred around a reinvigorated public square. Flagship shopping includes ASSOS, Paul & Shark, Aspinal of London, SMEG and the Jigsaw St James’s Emporium, and bespoke restaurant concepts are seen from, Aquavit, Ole & Steen, Ikoyi, Urban Tea Rooms, Duck & Waffle Local and Scully St James’s. To plan your visit and find out more about upcoming events, please visit stjameslondon.co.uk or follow @stjameslondon on social media.