Seven Dials unveils public installation by Rene Gonzalez as part of new 'The Artist's Artist Project'

Seven Dials has officially announced the next installation for its community initiative, The Artist’s Artist Project, which sees an ongoing series of public artworks exhibited in the unique West End destination, before being donated to selected charity partners.

Displayed on Shorts Gardens, the latest work by Rene Gonzalez is titled At the Entrance of Seven Obscure Passages and pays tribute to the 30th anniversary of the neighbourhood’s iconic Sundial Pillar and the conservation efforts of The Seven Dials Trust, while conveying the area’s wider history and sense of discovery. 

The exclusive work takes the place of The Evolution of Agatha Christie, by British artist Iona Rowland, which was inspired by the literary icon’s novel The Seven Dials Mysteryand will be auctioned shortly with all profits to go to UK women’s charity, The Fawcett Society. 

Each installation for The Artist’s Artist Project is interconnected, with the showcased artist nominating another for the following installation. London-based Rene Gonzalez was one of three artists put forward by Iona Rowland, whose piece was then selected by a panel of Shaftesbury representatives and Seven Dials stakeholders. 

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Rene brings his signature aesthetic of ‘magical realism’ to the piece, using acrylic paint on raw canvas to depict the iconic Sundial Pillar, and capture the architecture and evolution of Seven Dials since its establishment in the 17thcentury. Key historical figures are also present in the piece, including Thomas Neale who designed the estate, and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands who unveiled the reconstructed monument for The Seven Dials Trust in 1989.

Commenting on The Artist’s Artist Project, Rene Gonzalez said: “When I lived in Costa Rica, I was a mural and graffiti artist so I’m very aware of how art in public spaces reflects and transforms a community’s identity. After working in fine art for many years in London, it’s a privilege to be commissioned for this project and be given the platform to show viewers a glimpse of Seven Dials from my perspective - a mythic place filled with enchantment, secrets and mysteries.”  

Karen Baines, Head of Group Marketing and Communications at Shaftesbury said: “The Artist’s Artist Project is a great example of our commitment to bringing diversity and meaning to the experience of Seven Dials – for visitors and locals alike. Rene Gonzalez’s artwork was a standout choice in the way that it marks the Sundial Pillar’s 30thanniversary, and it will add another element to the sense of discovery across the village. We’re excited to develop this new initiative, allowing us to regularly work with emerging talent in enhancing the public realm whilst remaining true to the character of Seven Dials.” 

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David Bieda, Chairman of The Seven Dials Trust added: “Seven Dials is steeped in history and, alongside Shaftesbury, we aim to illuminate the area’s fascinating past for visitors, residents and businesses alike. To have continual public artworks displayed no Shorts Garden not only maintains the long-held creative spirit of the area, but also goes hand-in-hand with the Trust’s regenerative work across the only quarter in London remaining from the late 17thcentury with its unique street layout. We’re delighted that Shaftesbury has chosen to celebrate the Sundial Pillar’s 30thanniversary and the work of the Seven Dials Trust with this commemorative art installation.”

The four-month display of Rene Gonzalez’s At the Entrance of Seven Obscure Passages will coincide with the one-day event, FESTIVAL 30, being held by Seven Dials to mark the 30thanniversary of the landmark. The celebration will take place on Saturday 29 June from 11am – 6pm across the seven interconnecting streets, with pedestrian-only access to live entertainment, music, food, theatre, arts and crafts. 

On the day, curators of the highly anticipated Seven Dials Market, KERB, will also bring its hand-picked street food traders to Shorts Garden, giving visitors an exclusive taste of what’s to come ahead of the market’s official opening in September. 

At the Entrance of Seven Obscure Passages will be displayed in Shorts Garden until September 2019, then donated to the Seven Dials Trust in conjunction with the 30thanniversary celebrations and as a contribution to their ongoing fundraising efforts.


For further information, please contact Amy Cassidy, Clare McInerney or Jack Tonks at Aver via:

Notes to Editors 

Download images of work in progress and final artwork from Rene Gonzalez and Iona Rowland

About Shaftesbury 

Shaftesbury owns and manages a 15-acre property portfolio in the liveliest parts of London’s West End. Focused on restaurants, leisure and retail in the highly popular, sought-after and prosperous locations of Carnaby, Seven Dials and Chinatown, it also includes substantial ownership in East and West Covent Garden, Soho and Fitzrovia. 

The portfolio comprises nearly 600 shops, restaurants, cafés and extending to 1.1 million sq. ft., 593 apartments and 0.5 million sq. ft. of offices. All our properties are close to the main West End Underground stations, which currently handle c 228m passenger’s p.a., and are within ten minutes’ walk of the two West End transport hubs for the Elizabeth Line, at Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street, which projections indicate could be handling 200 million passengers annually by the mid-2020s.  

Seven Dials   

Seven Dials is home to 95 shops, including international flagships and concept stores, renowned beauty and grooming salons as well as over 90 vibrant cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, and a thriving residential community. The area comprises of Monmouth Street, Earlham Street, Neal Street, Shorts Gardens, Neal’s Yard, Endell Street, Shelton Street, Mercer Street and the Seven Dials Sundial Pillar. Combined with two luxury hotels, five theatres, two private members clubs, a large number of apartments and offices, Seven Dials is a unique retail and leisure destination in the heart of London.  


The Seven Dials Trust 
The Seven Dials Trust works in partnership with local authorities, landowners, national agencies and local amenity groups to protect the historic fabric of Seven Dials and to promote and bring about exemplary environmental improvements in the area. The Seven Dials Trust is a registered charity, managed by a board of trustees, many of whom have a long association with the area. For more information visit:  

The 30th Anniversary 
Saturday 29 June 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the reconstructed Sundial Pillar commissioned by the Seven Dials Trust. The Sundial Pillar was unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands with Prince Claus as the finale of the year-long William & Mary Tercentenary celebrations. The original Sundial Pillar was commissioned byThomas Neale MP, ‘The Great Projector’, in 1693 as the centre-piece of his unique layout which remains almost intact today. It was removed by the Street Commissioners in 1776 on the grounds that it attracted the London mob to congregate on the Dials. It’s removal as a ‘great public ornament’ was much criticised in the press of the day. The battered remains were re-erected in Weybridge in 1822 as a memorial to the Duchess of York.

Artist Bio 

Rene Gonzalez (1983, Montreal Canada), graduated from a BA (Hons) in Fine Art Painting at City & Guilds of London Art School in 2015. He has exhibited works at Messums Wiltshire, the Rebecca Hossack Gallery, The Great Western Studios, the Affordable Art Fair, Salone del Mobile (Milan), Art Helix Gallery (NY), the OXO Tower Gallery, Messums Wiltshire, and the upcoming solo show at Galerie Belem (Paris). He was awarded second place in the Art Gemini 2014, first place in the Clyde & Co Blank Canvas Art Prize 2015, was selected to be part of the Jackson’s Open Painting Prize 2018 and was part of the Auc Art Lab residency and exhibition in 2019. He has also collaborated with entities such as New Platform Art, Auc Art, The Halo Trust, and the NBA London, creating unique artworks, including his own limited edition shoes with Clarks, the “Desert Wu”.