Artist to create selfie mosaic at Alexandra Palace

Alexandra Palace is celebrating its 150th birthday (LightRocket via Getty Images)
Alexandra Palace is celebrating its 150th birthday (LightRocket via Getty Images)

An artist is asking members of the public to share the selfies they have taken around the capital for potential inclusion in a new artwork.

The piece created by Helen Marshall will be permanently displayed at Alexandra Palace, affectionately known as Ally Pally.

The commission, entitled By the People: 150 Lifetimes, will mark 150 years since Alexandra Palace was opened and be on show from early 2024.

Marshall said: “It is indeed a rare event as an artist to be invited to create an artwork for such an impressive location …

“We will co-create an enormous dreamscape made up of photos and stories capturing the true ‘spirit’ of the place we all love.”

Members of the public can submit their selfies through the dedicated website. All they will have to provide alongside their photograph is their name, email and their story about why Ally Pally holds a special place in their hearts.

This won’t be the first time the artist has displayed her work in a major venue. Marshall’s pieces have previously been seen in the Kennedy Space Center, the National Arboretum and Gatwick Airport.

The palace opened in 1873, only to burn down 16 days later. It was reopened in 1875, giving Victorian Londoners a place to enjoy fireworks, festivals, banquets, plays and music shows.

In 1900, an Act of Parliament was passed to make the park and palace a publicly owned space.

During the First World War the venue was used as a refugee camp, before becoming the home of the BBC in the 1930s and housing the world’s first ever television broadcast studios.

In World War II, TV output was suspended, as the transmitters at the palace were used to jam signals from German aircraft instead.

The palace suffered another fire in the 1980s during Capital Radio’s Jazz Festival, destroying half the building. Haringey Council restored some of the damage and reopened it to the public in 1988, but was later criticised for creating a £30 million deficit for the restorations.

In 1990, Ally Pally opened its ice rink and in 2018 Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios spent £27 million to refurbish the long-abandoned theatre and east wing.

And, now, the venue is celebrating its 150th birthday.