This year, I’ve been working with the children, staff and parents of St Silas Primary School to create an immersive installation within the school reception. This piece (above) isone of the walls which will surround the sofa where children will be able to sit and relax and take in their collective work. They will also be able to listen to stories, poems and songs from around the world that have been recorded specifically for the project; I very much hope that the school will continue to add to this collection once I’ve left.
The idea for the installation grew from wanting to give children, staff and parents the opportunity to sit together, be creative and get to know each other. It’s a very organic process. It was very important to me that people worked together within an equal space; leaving a mark – a sign – that would be part of the collective experience. I remember how I used to create patterns and enjoyed following the line without taking the pen off the surface, and the idea of passing the marker to each other without stopping the line was really appealing. I hope that this piece will symbolically represent the building of unity within community.
Throughout my residency I have been visiting different classes and working with the children to create this work. At first the children practised on the whiteboard together and then individually on paper until the idea was understood. We then started to work together on the sofa and then onto the cloth that became the walls and floor of the installation. I encouraged the children to research and incorporate patterns that originate from their cultural heritages, however the children were free to express themselves as they wished which seemed to make them feel less pressured.
Throughout this residency I have also met several parents who have added their own marks to the work. It was very interesting to discover that two parents are themselves professional artists, one of which designs artwork for mosques in Lancashire and Islamic art for private sale.If you look carefully you may be able to see the Arabic words for love
Edited: Katie Musgrove