Portrait of Steve McQueen in Year 3 at Tate Britain. ©Tate. Photo Jessica McDermott

Portrait of Steve McQueen in Year 3 at Tate Britain. ©Tate. Photo Jessica McDermott

Turner Prize-winning artist and Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen, together with Tate Britain, Artangel and A New Direction, today unveils one of the most ambitious visual portraits of citizenship ever undertaken in one of the world’s largest cities. Using the medium of the traditional school class photograph, this epic installation brings together images of tens of thousands of Year 3 pupils from across London. It offers us a glimpse of the city’s future – a hopeful portrait of a generation to come.

Year 3 places 76,146 children at the heart of Tate Britain. Over the last year 1,504 of London’s primary schools with Year 3 pupils including State, Independent, Faith and Special schools, Pupil Referral Units and home educated children agreed to have their classes specially photographed by a bespoke team of Tate photographers. Every one of the resulting 3,128 class photographs, depicting two-thirds of the city’s entire population of seven-to-eight-year olds, are brought together in a large-scale installation lining the walls of Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries and free for all to visit.

Mapping a picture of the present, McQueen’s remarkable artwork captures a milestone year in a child’s personal development – the moment when they become more conscious of the world beyond their immediate family. It is a critical time for them to develop confidence in all areas of life, to understand more about their place in a changing world and to think about the future. Depicting rows of children sitting or standing alongside their teachers and teaching assistants, Year 3 reflects this moment of excitement, anticipation and hope. As a record of the journey from childhood through adolescence to adulthood it is also a poignant but provocative reminder of how lives are shaped and formed.

In addition to the vast installation at Tate Britain, millions of people will also catch sight of Year 3 classes in a city-wide outdoor exhibition organised by Artangel, who are renowned for producing extraordinary art in unexpected places. Spanning all of London’s 33 boroughs from 4 to 18 November 2019, it is estimated that almost one in every ten people in the city will see one of the 613 Year 3 billboards posted at roadsides, railways and underground stations. Together, these two exhibitions form a celebration of the young people who will make London their own in years to come, and a meditation on the social forces and personal changes that shape all our lives.

Creative education specialists A New Direction led a major outreach campaign to recruit and engage primary schools, working with the advice of the NSPCC. In the process, pupils participated in educational workshops centred on the project’s key themes of identity and belonging. Specially-created learning resources are still available for all schools to download, exploring art as a powerful prompt for conversations about how we view the world, and teachers can access a free online course entitled Developing Literacy: A Journey from Still Image to Film, created by film education charity Into Film. Also coinciding with Year 3, Tate Modern will stage a major exhibition surveying the last 20 years of McQueen’s career as a visual artist, open from 13 February to 11 May 2020.

Year 3 at Tate Britain is curated by Clarrie Wallis, Senior Curator of Contemporary British Art, and Nathan Ladd, Assistant Curator of Contemporary British Art, and is produced by Erin Barnes and Gemma Clarke. The outdoor exhibition is curated by James Lingwood, Co-Director, Artangel and Cressida Day, Managing Director, Artangel.

Year 3 is a partnership between Tate, Artangel and A New Direction. Supported by Joseph and Abigail Baratta, De Ying Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies, with additional support from Dana and Albert R. Broccoli Charitable Foundation, The Garcia Family Foundation, Wagner Foundation and Tate Americas Foundation. With media partner BBC London and film education charity partner Into Film.

Tate: Rachael.Young@tate.org.uk / Jean.Tang@tate.org.uk or call +44 (0)20 7887 8730

Artangel: Erica@boltonquinn.com / Daisy@boltonquinn.com or call +44 (0)20 7221 5000

A New Direction: Steve.Woodward@anewdirection.org.uk or call +44 (0)20 7608 8977

High resolution press images can be downloaded from Tate's Dropbox.

A map of Year 3 billboard sites can be found at www.artangel.org.uk/year-3

About Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen was born in London in 1969 and currently lives and works in London and Amsterdam. He is one of the most renowned artists and filmmakers of his generation, creating works to be shown in gallery spaces as well as four cinematic films: Hunger (2008), Shame (2010), the Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave (2013) and most recently Widows (2018). Solo exhibitions of his work have been held around the world, including a major retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Schaulager, Basel in 2012-13. He won the Turner Prize in 1999, represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 2009, and was awarded an OBE in 2002 and a CBE in 2011.

About Tate Britain

Tate Britain is home to the world’s greatest collection of British art, with displays and exhibitions that span from 1500 to the present day. It is one of four Tate galleries around the country which together attract around eight million visitors each year and is part of a wider network of partner institutions – the Plus Tate network – which champion the visual arts in the UK. Tate manages a growing national collection of over 70,000 works of art, acquired and cared for on behalf of the public and shown in venues throughout the UK and across the world. Visit tate.org.uk/britain

About Artangel

Artangel produces and presents extraordinary art in unexpected places in London, the UK and beyond. For over 30 years Artangel has generated some of the most talked-about art of recent times, including projects with Clio Barnard, Jeremy Deller, PJ Harvey, Roger Hiorns, Michael Landy, Steve McQueen, Rachel Whiteread and Taryn Simon. Appearing anywhere from empty prisons to underground vaults, daytime TV to the sky at night, Artangel produces art that surprises and inspires and wouldn’t be possible within the confines of a gallery. Artangel is generously supported by Arts Council England and the private patronage of Artangel International Circle, Special Angels, Guardian Angels, and The Company of Angels. Visit artangel.org.uk

About A New Direction

A New Direction is London's leading creative education agency. As a London-based non-profit, generating opportunities for children and young people to unlock their creativity, it works with schools, cultural venues, local authorities and a range of other partners to support children and young people to be creative and experience culture, while identifying areas of inequality and campaigning for policy change. Visit anewdirection.org.uk

About Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 510 cities and 129 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organisation focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $767 million. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

About Into Film

Into Film puts film at the heart of children and young people's educational, cultural and personal development. More than half of UK schools engage with the programme of Into Film Clubs, special cinema screenings, and resources and training to support classroom teaching. Alongside rich online content for young audiences, this provides 5-19-year olds with inspiring opportunities to learn about and make film, and develop a passion for cinema. Into Film is a not-for-profit organisation supported principally by the BFI (through the National Lottery), Cinema First and Northern Ireland Screen. Visit intofilm.org

Tour: A Story Of Children And Art

13 December 2019, 18.30 – 20.00

Duveen Galleries, Tate Britain; £10 (£7 concessions)

This special after-hours tour explores how British artists have represented children and childhood throughout history. The tour will look at paintings, sculptures, photographs and video works from the seventeenth century to the present day, and explore how issues of gender and class have shaped artistic depictions of children. The tour concludes with consideration of McQueen’s epic new work at Tate Britain.

Steve McQueen Year 3: A Discussion

23 January 2020, 18.30 – 20.00

Clore Auditorium, Tate Britain; £12 (£8 concessions)

This panel discussion invites a range of contributors to reflect on Steve McQueen’s new installation and how it might speak to current debates around identity, childhood and belonging. What does this project say about the future of London?

Tour: A Story Of Children And Art

13 December 2019, 18.30 – 20.00

Duveen Galleries, Tate Britain; £10 (£7 concessions)

This special after-hours tour explores how British artists have represented children and childhood throughout history. The tour will look at paintings, sculptures, photographs and video works from the seventeenth century to the present day, and explore how issues of gender and class have shaped artistic depictions of children. The tour concludes with consideration of McQueen’s epic new work at Tate Britain.

Steve McQueen Year 3: A Discussion

23 January 2020, 18.30 – 20.00

Clore Auditorium, Tate Britain; £12 (£8 concessions)

This panel discussion invites a range of contributors to reflect on Steve McQueen’s new installation and how it might speak to current debates around identity, childhood and belonging. What does this project say about the future of London?