Thursday, 14 January 2016

Time slips

and slips away from me.

It is traditional, at the turn of the year, to look back and then to look forward at the coming year, but right now I have more of a sense of time sliding. Work right now has a theme of past, present and future slipping backwards and forwards; the past informs the future and the future informs the past.

I've been working on a number of pieces for The Reliquary Project over the past few months. The exhibition for the project is confirmed: it will run from 6th May until 30th June 2016 at Attenborough Arts Centre in Leicester. They've offered me Gallery 3, the new upstairs gallery which, I have to say, is my favourite space of the two smaller rooms. There's a window wall that looks down onto the double-height space below, so that's got me thinking about how I can use the space creatively and I am thinking of the exhibition as an installation, changing the whole space in some way, not just hanging things on walls.

In the second half of last year I ran a number of workshops in schools for the project, working with students of varying ages, from 8 to 18. I developed the workshops as I went along, so I could react to the responses of the students as well as them reacting to my work. I showed different examples of my own work to them to try to get some feedback (and children can be so honest!).

Reliquary for a bird, Avenue Primary School
One workshop I ran with 8 year olds, I asked them to create a reliquary for an animal that was special to them. Some created this for their pets, but others thought really hard about what made an animal "special" in their view and this was a really interesting discussion about what we value. Some of them made reliquaries for animals that were extinct. One child made a reliquary for a mongoose, an animal he had seen in India and had made quite an impression!

Working with Regent College students. Photos  by Jacqueline Hunt
I also ran a workshop at Regent College for A Level art students. The students were really insightful and it encouraged me to hear what they read into my work. I talked to them about being an artist, about my route in and about higher education, as they are thinking about their options for university at the moment. They were very attentive, asked intelligent questions and they made their work with a sense of fun but also serious application.  It was a really enjoyable experience for me.

Regent College students. Photos by Jacqueline Hunt
They wrote very thoughtful evaluation notes at the end of the session and I felt I had made a real impact.

Evaluation notes from student, Regent College
I ran an open workshop for families too, using pantographs to make large scale bone drawings. This was really fun and I would like to do that workshop again, if I get the opportunity. I can offer a further two free workshops for schools, so if you know a school that might like one, do get in touch.

Using the giant pantograph!
A couple of other things have developed as a result of The Reliquary Project. I've been invited to do an artist's talk at New Art Exchange, an arts centre in Hyson Green, Nottingham, on Saturday 5th March. The talk is to accompany an exhibition by artist Larissa Sansour and her newest film "In The Future They Ate From The Finest Porcelain". Sansour's film is a science fiction, considering the manipulation of archaeology. I've been asked to create an alternative guided tour from my own point of view about art and archaeology, and I've been thinking about time slips, past, present and future sliding in to one another and about myth making. I may title my talk "Uchronia" (though I am still deciding on this.)

I'll be running a series of three workshops as an evening class at Attenborough Arts Centre (as part of their Creative Learning Programme) on the theme of art and archaeology. The course will use my exhibition as a starting point and we will consider materiality, time, objects in time, and create contemporary works from these ideas, using drawing, found objects and casting techniques. I always enjoy working with other people and sparking ideas off each other, and I'm sure that this course will feed my own thoughts further.

I hope you'll be able to join me for some of these events. I keep an up to date list of things I'm running in the right sidebar of this blog so please check back there for updates. Thanks for following.