Current Portobello Wall Public Art Project

The Portobello Wall Public Art Project

The Portobello Wall Public Art Project is an annual commission for a 100m stretch of brick wall linking two of the most vibrant and well-known market areas in London: Portobello Road and Golborne Road. 2019 marks the twelfth edition of the Portobello Wall Public Art Project. Proposals were invited via open submission that responded to the theme of Rhythm and Sound:

‘From the dance-steps and steel-pan beats of Notting Hill Carnival to the bustle and banter of Portobello and Golborne Road markets; from momentous performances at the Tabernacle to the original Rough Trade Record shop; Rhythm and Sound is woven into the rich cultural heritage, identity and place of North Kensington.’

Guitar Man

Guitar Man © Wayne Crichlow

2019 Commission Winner – Tony Thomas

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's Arts and Culture Service is delighted to announce Tony Thomas as the winner of the twelfth edition of the Portobello Wall Public Art Project. His winning proposal embraces technology to make digital links between historic and present day images representing ‘Rhythm and Sound’. Using QR codes and augmented reality Tony brings the sounds of Portobello Road and the surrounding area in North Kensington to life.

Pan Man Kevin Joseph

Image: The Pan Man ©

In Tony’s words, “The commission has allowed me to connect to many different communities in West London. Each one makes and enjoys different music from around the world. This includes leading London jazz players, Steelpan from the Caribbean, punk, and digital music. Portobello Road reflects the richly diverse community of London and it has been great to be welcomed by all and engage them in my work. Rhythm and Sound in North Kensington is a community-wide positive thread that runs through the history of the area and is worth celebrating. As John McLaughlin says, ‘The mathematics of rhythm are universal. They don’t belong to any particular culture’.”

Hip Hop © Shaban, Krew B Boys

Hip Hop © Shaban, Krew B Boys


The installation is accompanied by a rolling programme of musical events and participatory opportunities from 2019-20. A fantastic variety is on offer, from informative digital sound engineering sessions, to steel-pan music workshops.

Visit the installation website to find out what’s on.

About the Artist: Tony Thomas

Tony Thomas is an artist and sound engineer based in Notting Hill, with over 30 years experience in te creative industries. Tony trained in creative and performing arts at University of Northumbria, before studying jazz at Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA. He was the former artistic director of Beat Dis jazz collective, a music and arts organisation based at The Tabernacle, Powis Square W11, and continues to work as an educator, sound artist and technical developer.