Alwin Reamillo is a Philippine artist who has come to Burnley to work with Action Factory and the Canalside Community Centre, and is working on a floating sculpture to be launched in October.
The main focus of Alwin’s work is the exploration of creative play, improvisation and collaborative group work through workshops and more informal meetings and he has brought this approach to his work with the people of Burnley Wood.
In his work with communities he often cites the creative term bayanihan – which is a traditional practice of moving house and bringing communities together in a traditional form of group work.
Bayanihan comes from the root word bayan which means ‘community town’ or ‘nation’. Bayanihan brings together different creative strands from people and develops organically. The result is that the work starts off with an idea but the final shape is determined by whoever gets involved.
Throughout his career Alwin has initiated collaborative projects across the globe (Germany, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, United Kingdom) working with a wide range of communities and organisations along the way. Following his own experience of migrating to Australia in 1995, Alwin pursued his interest in exploring ideas about memory, mobility and the cross-cultural exchanges which occur as a result of peoples’ journeys, leading him to create Harkat with Action Factory. Harkat, which means motion/journey in Urdu, is facilitated through the social practice of bayanihan, responding and collaborating with the community of Burnley Wood.
Alwin approach to creating work is often in response and in collaboration with the local communities he works within – inspired by their and his experience of moving back and forth between different cultural settings.
A community project is about building links and connections with people; building trust and relationships. The time frame of Harkat is very short for making relationships, but we have been lucky with the connections that we have been able to make.
Alwin regularly combines painting, sculpture, installation, shadow puppetry, video and performance – whatever is the most suitable material for the subject matter, and looking to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal for inspiration, he is working on a participatory ‘social sculpture’ in the form of a vessel or craft in response to the local context and history. One of his aims as an artist is to encourage others to be curious about art and share his creativity with communities in the hope that they then foster links and relationships with people from other areas.
I would like people to have fun and have a good memory of this event and sculpture so that it is lodged into the collective memory of the community. Hopefully this could bring about more interest in future projects and artworks.
Alwin’s floating sculpture will be launched on October 7th at the Canalside Community Centre in Burnley.