Shadowing a Loudspeaker Session

I had the pleasure of being invited to sit in on one of the loudspeaker sessions this month. I felt incredibly privileged to get the chance to hear these humorous and clever women’s stories and how their experiences, paired with their knowledge of the somewhat abstract exhibition – had inspired the artwork they were making. I am really excited to see their celebration exhibition and hope that after the project they continue to pursue their individual creativity.

Below are photos of some of the work in progress, looking forward to seeing the finished pieces!

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Alice Thickett – Youth Programmer at Nottingham Contemporary

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Identities of Us

On Thursday 3rd April the women who have been attending the most recent block of workshops showcased their work to friends, family and the public, during a special event at Nottingham Contemporary.

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Many of the artworks on display explored ideas of identity and were inspired by the exhibitions by Marvin Gaye Chetwynd and Tala Madani.

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Some of the women chose to wear their artworks whereas others chose to display them  as wearable objects.

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There was also the opportunity for visitors to participate in the event, trying on costumes and taking on new identities.

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Congratulations to everyone who was involved and who made the event such a success! We can’t wait to see the outcomes of the next block of workshops.

Helen Thackray – Community Programmer.

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Homage to famous painters

This week the women on the Loudspeaker Project were given an opportunity to be inspired by the current exhibiting artist Tala Madani who references the brush strokes of famous 20th century painters. Tala has sourced inspiration from many artists including Jackson Pollock who was one of the first major American painters. He used household paint to make huge complex layered pieces made out of the movement and rhythm of his hands and body.

In Tala Madani’s work similarities can be seen with Jasper Johns’ textural paintings of the American Flag from the 1960’s and Morris Lewis who would drip paint onto large scale canvases in his studio. Tala looks inside at her past and heritage and marries this by seeking outside cultural references. We saw other connections including Robert Motherwell who was famous for his graphic and foreboding black patterned paintings, and Richard Hamilton the father of Pop Art who painted the Dirty Protest capturing Bobby Sands standing in a cell of his own excrement (a theme which can be found in the current exhibition at The Nottingham Contemporary).

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We began with large pieces of paper and were given the freedom to use the paint, brushes, sponges and tools in any way we wished! I think everyone felt a little intimidated to begin with but soon the women were freeing themselves and losing all inhibitions. In very little time we had created a unique masterpiece inspired by the artists exhibiting at Nottingham Contemporary and painters from the past.

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I asked the women how they felt about painting with abandon and what it had helped them to learn about themselves…

“It felt good to take all of my frustrations out!” Lyndsay says “I was surprised at how it turned out. It was an emotional release…I was never into art before I came on this course but now I would consider it as a career”

Tiffany said “ I have grown in confidence, I have been inspired by doing the Loudspeaker Project to do other courses and complete my English and Maths, every day I am now busy with courses and volunteering….it’s a space for me time”

Lizzety said “It was really nice to paint the mural and I am looking forward to doing some painting with my children at home…I’m glad we painted together, I feel great!”

Some people found it so engaging they were exhausted!

“The great thing about painting like this is that you can do something really good in a very short space of time…” remarked Gill the artist leading the workshop.

“I struggled to come in today but am so pleased I did, I forgot that I felt poorly…this has been my favourite session, I felt super connected” Naomi

Valerie summed up our achievements over the 2 hour session…”It’s beautiful!”

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Why not have a go at painting your own group mural at home or in the garden if you don’t like mess…its fun, liberating and in no time at all you’ve made your own unique piece of contemporary art.

Rachel Burnett, Project Participant and Mentor

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A Chetwynd inspired creation

The latest block of Loudspeaker workshops are well under way and last week I popped in to see what was being made – Helen Thackray, Community Programmer.

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“After seeing the exhibition by Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, we took inspiration from her DIY style and the materials she uses to create our own colourful structure.”

“It started off as a tent but it got prettier as we all added to it. We had to work together to do the scaffolding but the design was each individual adding to it. I’ve put up lots of tents before so I was more interested in the structure and keeping it upright, the other girls did the pretty stuff. The cushions are like the beanbags that Chetwynd uses in the Catbus. They give it a luxuriant look but they are actually working as weights to keep the bamboo canes in place.”

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“As it’s Valentine’s day tomorrow we added a romantic swing. The fabrics created a tranquil atmosphere. We created a place where you could escape to”

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“The teamwork was exciting. We respected each others ideas and worked together to create something we couldn’t have done on our own. At first I couldn’t imagine we could make such a large structure”

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Celebration Event

Last week we marked the end of the first year of the Loudspeaker project with a celebration event in the Space at Nottingham Contemporary. This was an opportunity for everyone involved to look back at twelve months of workshops, events and achievements.

Below are some of the highlights of the event:

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Artwork by Maxine Dickson

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Artwork by Rachel Burnett

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Artwork by Lynn Chippendale, Ruth Golding and Louise Storer.

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Artwork by Gidhey Ghebremdhn and Sophia Beyene

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Certificates being awarded by Alex Farquharson, Director at Nottingham Contemporary.

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Ventrola Wilson and Deslyn Lindsey with their certificates

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Artwork by Nicola Willbye

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Becky Perry, Project Participant and Debra Marshall, Support Worker at Changing Lives.

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Artwork by Tina Sydee

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Kay Hardiman, Head of Learning at Nottingham Contemporary giving a speech.

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Carla Coppin and Louise Dilks, Project Participants.

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Sharing our stories and ideas with each other….

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….and the general public.

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Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the project so far, it’s been a fantastic first year and we can’t wait to see how the Loudspeaker project develops in 2014!

All photographs by Vika Nightingale.

 

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BBC visit

Today the BBC came to film our workshop and report on the Loudspeaker project.

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Geeta the journalist interviewed me and asked about my work and what it was all about.

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She also asked about my illness and if the project had helped me in anyway.

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This was the first time that I’ve been interviewed for TV. I was able to tell them about what the project has done for me and I’ve had the chance to speak out.

I’ll definitely be watching the news tonight!

Lynn Chippendale, Project Participant and Mentor

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Whose Art is it anyway?

By Rachel Burnett, project participant and mentor.

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David Dyer self- taught Artist is observing life and making a statement. His work is temporary, transient graffiti collage, silent powerful art which speaks volumes about marginalised and alienated people in the community trying to break down barriers and find their own voices through art.

His recent project ‘In the name of..’ lasted only a few hours yet left an indelible impression opposite Nottingham Contemporary Gallery on the opening night of the current ASCO and Geoffrey Farmer exhibition.

I managed to find out more about this interesting, up and coming artist/filmmaker. Once a trained counsellor managing a young offender’s project, a former boxer and coach, poet and filmmaker, David spent a year submerged in the exhibitions and evening programme talks at Nottingham Contemporary in a bid to learn about Art and become a self -taught artist.

“When I was at school I found it difficult because I have Dyslexia, so I would get sent out of class and draw…being creative helped me to express my feelings in a safe and healthy way…it’s so cathartic…people say art saves your life – I think it does..”

As a teenager David was in and out of young offender’s institutions, as an adult he battled with alcohol and drugs but turned his life around. Whilst he was in recovery, Nottingham Contemporary provided a safe space and an opportunity for him to learn about art.

“They facilitated me for a year – I had no understanding or concept of art and the staff helped me to grow and find my own voice….I asked a lot of questions! And I was often challenging! But the staff were knowledgeable and enabled me to empower myself….I would often sit in the gallery library during the day watching films and reading the art books – it kept me focused, inspired and clean…I was there 5/6 times a week..”

“From there I started with pencil drawing, my first attempts since school, I was inspired. I learnt there were no limits or conditions of what art can be – I loved the freedom of expression – I didn’t know that before…at school I was taught that art should represent reality, you know take one form of drawing, or painting….whilst drawing I found my style was similar to Gaugin and Matisse – so I thought maybe I can do art..”

David says he is influenced and inspired by Warhol, Turner and Banksy to name a few eminent artists…

After a car accident David was made redundant from his Job at Framework a homeless charity, he bought a video camera with his redundancy pay and started making social documentaries, he joined Confetti Media Group but was unable to do the courses because of his dyslexia. David set about teaching himself and has recently submitted three films to The Broadway Bang Festival Nov 2013.

So what was the idea for “In The Name Of…”?

“I researched ASCO, currently exhibiting in the gallery, I liked that they used photography like film stills and graffiti to make political statements, I like how they use art to free themselves from oppression…I chose the opening evening to show “In the name of..” – it somehow echoed and reflected ASCO’s early work…”

So what’s it about?

“It’s a statement about the state of the world – famine, wars, riots are depicted in the imagery and show that wars and violence are crimes done ‘in the name of’ terrorism, race, religion and how everything is done behind the cloak of government and religion. I chose the church wall because it’s now a wine bar…there’s a certain discomfort there for me…”

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And what did the familiar image of the crucifix represent..?

“Jesus died for our sins, there are our sins in the images I chose…I thought it was the most religious thing on the wall! (Laughs)…”

So what’s your artistic process..?

My art is about having a vision and doing it…simple…I knew it would be taken down but for me the process was about doing the piece. Originally I was hoping it would stay up for a few days, but there’s no control with street art…I was going to spray the title ‘in the name of ‘ on the wall but I didn’t want to cross a line, I was only prepared to go so far…there is a fine line between art and vandalism…”

How did you feel when it was removed..?

“I ended up liking the image that was left behind in the removal process! It left its own mark. They tried to take it away but it still remains…like a poignant reminder…”

“The point was made, the art became something else, it evolved into something more…street art doesn’t always last but like ASCO I was reclaiming a public space with art…”

“I spent a year planning the piece, I would sit by the wall and envisage how it would look and work…it makes me feel good…it’s a gift to the public, it may make a stranger smile for a moment or think about things…The piece fulfilled my need for self- expression and in this sense the work was a success…”

What do you think about Nottingham Contemporary’s recent venture to engage with local Nottingham community groups like the Women’s Centre?

“I think gallery funding of community projects like Loudspeaker are really important because they enable people who are not in a financial position to make art and helps them to turn their dreams into reality…it’s brilliant that local people can be empowered through art…

Do you think there should be a programme in the gallery for local Nottingham Artists to have their own platform..?

“Yes I do….the gallery was built on the original Nottingham Town Hall site. Street art began its roots with the public writing graffiti on the town hall walls to express their opinions and feelings about politics and the law…I think it’s a great idea that the gallery is engaging with local community groups and opening the doors….it encourages people to try art, boosts their self- esteem, enriches the local economy and culture and makes art relevant to the people of Nottingham….Local people who have never been in an art gallery before are more inclined to return…”

David recalls a memory of visiting a friend’s house years ago….” This man had art all over his house and walls…but no one got to see it…I don’t think art should be exclusive, it should be inclusive….who knows where the next Turner is and whether he’s been and gone…”

His next project will be on a wall somewhere…out there…in a public space.

 

 

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