Whitechapel Gallery Finally Gets Its Frieze Thanks To Rachel Whiteread

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Rachel Whiteread was the first female artist to win the Turner Prize
Rachel Whiteread was the first female artist to win the Turner Prize

Turner Prize-winning artist Rachel Whiteread has unveiled the design for her latest work - a frieze that will take pride of place on the front of a gallery more than 100 years after it was originally planned.

The design for the Whitechapel Gallery in east London will include clusters of leaves and branches reflecting the Tree of Life motif which is already on the property.

The building's original plans show its founders wanted to have a frieze embodying its public mission, which was to bring great art to the people of the east end, but it was never made and a large blank rectangle can still be seen above the entrance of the gallery which opened in 1901.

Ms Whiteread said: "Having lived in this area of London for so long I feel very connected to the Whitechapel Gallery and I hope my work will have a positive and lasting impact for the area and communities here."

The gallery director, Iwona Blazwick, said it was "truly fitting" that Ms Whiteread had been chosen to do the work.

She said: "Having lived near the gallery for 25 years it's wonderful that Rachel's work will become part of the fabric of the building for future generations to enjoy."

Ms Whiteread first came to public attention in 1993 with her sculpture, House, a life-sized cast of the interior of a condemned terraced house in east London which was eventually demolished in 1994.

She was the first woman to win the Turner Prize in 1993.

The gallery's new frieze will be unveiled in June this year.