Steve McQueen unveils his epic portrait of London’s Year 3 pupils

Posted by on 1 août 2020

Turner Prize-winning artist and Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen unveils his epic portrait of London’s Year 3 pupils

This epic display of portraits appears in a year when Britain’s education system has been challenged as never before. These photographs of all Year 3 pupils in London schools show the old ordinary life with entire classes posed together, sitting close. What seemed unremarkable then is now fraught with nostalgia.
Tate Britain, London, until 31 January 2021.


Explored through the vehicle of the traditional school class photograph, this vast new art work is one of the most ambitious portraits of children ever undertaken in the UK. It offers us a glimpse of the capital’s future, a hopeful portrait of a generation to come.

Steve McQueen invited every Year 3 pupil in London to have their photograph taken by a team of specially trained Tate photographers. They included children from state primaries, independent schools, faith schools, special schools, pupil referral units and home-educated pupils.

These class photos are brought together into a single large-scale installation, capturing tens of thousands of Year 3 pupils in a milestone year in their development.

There’s an urgency to reflect on who we are and our future […] to have a visual reflection on the people who make this city work. I think it’s important and in some ways urgent.
Steve McQueen

Over the months ahead, pupils featured in the exhibition will be visiting Tate Britain with their schools. At the end of the exhibition, each picture will be returned to the school where the photograph was taken.For purposes of safeguarding the thousands of children in the exhibition, individual photographs are not named and Tate staff will not be able to identify individual classes or schools for general visitors. If you are a parent or carer of a child in the exhibition, we encourage you to contact your school who have been provided with the location of their photograph.

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