Monday, 20 February 2017

Peace Painting

During the workshops at Priory Witham Academy back in December, I became interested in Bana Alabed, and her tweets from besieged Aleppo, and at that time, she was tweeting that Aleppo was being bombed, her house had been bombed, and they were seeking refuge.
So I wanted to paint Bana; here, I have looked at images from her twitter feed, I particularly liked the image of her making a heart with her hands, and looking happy after she was escorted to safety, and is safe in Turkey with her mother. 

Behind her happy self, is the tweet from the time of the bombings, where she's covered in dust, looks tired and weary, and tweets that she has seen death.
I included a printout of another tweet with an image of her house bombed to rubble, where she'd recently received a copy of Harry Potter to read from J.K. Rowling.
The tweet is linked from a website that seems to think Bana's twitter is a fake account and is child exploitation.
I have another image of a faked injured child that is a very interesting image to consider working with.


The image cropped out her feet, so although I imagine she is probably wearing trainers and socks, I have painted her with bare feet. 
Her shoes will be at the bottom, along with some susuwatari, later on.

The images of Aleppo in ruins from which Bana appears to rise out of, like a child from an M83 video, or a character from Stranger Things, are a composite image. The upturned tank has been painted into another scene, and the rubble will become populated by susuwatari, which can only be seen by children, and the dome from a mosque or other building will become a dovecote.

With Instagram filter
In my research, I've been thinking a lot about the painting that Archie conceived of - with words of peace in a tree, and I thought he could make the words into leaves, but I've since realised that he wanted them to go on the trunk, like when lovers carve names into tree trunks.
I went to the park, and couldn't find a single tree with a carving in the trunk, but I did have some old birch bark in my studio that I'd collected, so I made a peace heart.


Concepts are forming about how I can equate Peace Painting with my own practice and my own research. 
I've been sketching flocks of doves, so these will become another work.


On Valentines Day, this murmuration of starlings flew over my house, so a flock of white doves is a concept for another peace painting.


In the courtyard gallery, I spoke to Christopher Wiles about a similar project he's doing.












Art & Design Conference 2017

It's a new year, so I hope everyone has been celebrating the emerging peace in Aleppo, and hoping for a resolution of conflict in Syria, which isn't helped by terrorist attacks in Turkey.

Details of my trip to Norway are on the Peace Painting website here.

This month, I was invited to the Art & Design Conference, which I initially thought would be a paid talk about Peace Painting at The Collection Museum and Art Gallery.

The week of the event, this became a workshop - for teachers attending. I'm used to running workshops for children, so this was going to be a new challenge.

This was good for teachers to learn what children experience and gain from Peace Painting workshops, and it's interesting to see how they all responded differently to the theme, but with only an hour, there wasn't much time to really explore ideas about peace in any greater detail.












It was a fun event, with an informative talk by Lesley Butterworth of NSEAD, and lunch of course provided :-)

Monday, 19 December 2016

Peace Painting at Priory Witham Academy

From "Fighting Walls" exhibition at New Art Exchange, Nottingham
 Saturday 10th December was a trip to Nottingham, and a visit to New Art Exchange and the "Fighting Walls" exhibition.
Banksy - style imagery by artists working in Iran and Egypt.


From "Fighting Walls" exhibition at New Art Exchange, Nottingham

From "Fighting Walls" exhibition at New Art Exchange, Nottingham

From "Fighting Walls" exhibition at New Art Exchange, Nottingham
Monday 12th - Tuesday 13th were the first two days of Peace Painting at Priory Witham Academy, with Year 3.
After an initial introduction about Peace Painting, I didn't want to influence their thoughts with any reference images, I spoke about Peace Painting, and invited the children to think about their own ideas about peace.
Some of these were monsters doing dancing, wrestling (Internet meme John Cener), and devilish images. Which are fine, as long as the kids think about how to resolve any conflict that may arise from such ideas.

Existing artwork at Priory Witham Academy
I have reflected on this period, and decided to source images relating to peace and conflict, to ask the children to choose which are peace and which are not peaceful for future workshops. I'd like to see them progress beyond obvious images such as hearts, rainbows and flowers to develop some interesting paintings.

White dove on a banner
 Sketching ideas on paper gave the children a chance to brainstorm their ideas, and then choose specific aspects for their painting.
Good ideas were a peace tree with words relating to peace written on the trunk, such as "agreement", "treaty", "friendship", "love" etc.
Other good ideas were a fairground ferris wheel, which developed into balloons with messages of peace being sent around the world, however, this became Oakley's fairground painting.


Unicef quotes at Priory Witham Academy
On Tuesday evening, after arriving home after a day of Peace Painting, news of the terrible situation in Aleppo was both terrible and confusing as to what was really happening. Thinking about peace, and doodling a sketch of Bana Alabed.


Bana Alabed in Aleppo from Twitter, with quotes 
Friday 16th the best ideas were chosen for a selection of Peace Paintings.

Autumn's Peace Garden
Autumn had a strong idea and drawings for a Peace garden, then spent so long mixing various colours that she took ages to finish her peace garden painting.


Peace Mermaid

Saraa's Peace Tree with hearts and stars
Oakley developed his idea of a ferris wheel and fairground theme to include balloons with words on the theme of peace, however, the balloons are less obvious in his finished painting.


Oakley's Fairground
Esmerelda had the same idea as her friend to start with - both did rainbows with a waterfall underneath, but Esmerelda's developed into a rainbow river with two swans.
Esmerelda's rainbow river with swans

Amy's heart with hands and stars
I have since reflected on the weeks' Peace Painting workshops, and have thought about how I can improve on them for the next sessions, depending on the age group I'll work with and the time we have.

I dreamt that whilst working on this, Magne Furuholmen came along to work with us, which was nice, and would be nice in reality, if he isn't too busy. He did only speak briefly before being engaged in conversation about music with a manager - type guy that was with him.

The Peace Painting project will be launched properly at the Art & Design Conference at The Collection on 10th February 2017.

Wishing you all peace at Christmas and a peaceful New Year!!

Monday, 5 December 2016

Peace Painting workshops in Lincoln

A meeting with Paradigm Arts has been very positive, and I will be working with them again to develop the Peace Painting project following on from my previous after schools comics workshops last year for my Illustration practice.

Next week, I'm running 3 days' Peace Painting workshops at Witham St. Hugh's school, with groups of Year 4 children, working with and funded by Paradigm Arts.

In February I will be taking part in an annual Art & Design Conference, which will launch the Peace painting project within a network of over 50 schools within the Midlands area, so this will be delivered in a wide area.

The Peace painting project is an ambitious and exciting project, and with this initial match funding, along with the research trip, it is planned to work on a funding application with support next spring / summer for the next academic year.


Friday, 18 November 2016

Peace Painting - what next?

Thoughts from the research trip as I figure out what will happen next for the Peace Painting project.

I sent out a press release to some existing contacts, and was invited to speak on University radio about the project, however, they used a quote in which I said we need some space to exhibit.

This is true, however, I'm very wary of being asked to exhibit or work for free somewhere in Lincoln, and those that will try to circumvent #payingartists.

So the first thing is funding. The comics workshops last year were funded by Paradigm Arts, and I ran some peer to peer digital arts workshops funded by OnLincolnshire at The Collection. I'm meeting up with Paradigm Arts next week.

So I am seeking sponsors and other sources of funding.

I am reluctant to spend any time on an Arts Council Grant application, as I've had too many rejections, it's too time consuming, and if I were to risk assess it, the risk of financial destitution from a negative outcome is too great to risk it.

I'm fairly sure that this is what is expected of me, but I was expecting not to have to apply for funding myself.

My experience with the DWP from 2015 to 2016 has totally demolished my resolve to just keep applying for Arts Council funding whilst next May I may have even less money to live on due to proposed cuts to Working Tax credits, which I still unfortunately rely on. I'm still waiting for total reversal of welfare rights abuses and just want to be paid to do the project.

Catrine thinks I should be able to earn a living doing Peace Painting workshops - my idea for this is to be given opportunities to run them in schools, colleges and Universities in Lincoln, ideally at The Collection, and to exhibit the resulting work.
So far, The Collection have said no.

Catrine hopes this will be exhibited in hotels in London, or spaces such as Gatwick Airport.
However, I'm wary of not doing this for free, as I need to be paid.

Another plan is to invite artists from Norway to visit Lincoln / London for the Peace Painting workshops and exhibition.
For this, it was suggested to ask the British Embassy in Oslo, so I'm making initial enquiries.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Norway trip - Fredag

Friday was the journey back from Catrine's has to Trondheim Vaernes airport. As this had been mostly after dark, all I saw from the bus window were trees, as I travelled through Norwegian forests.


Leaving Terrak



Add caption


Skogen

Kirken i dag


Nei trolls!







skogen 









Folger bussen, tog til Trondheim Vaernes, i snøen.

UFO shaped cloud at Grong jernbanestasjon

Grong jernbanestajon


Norwegian knitting on the train


Jenta

Sykklen at Verdal stasjon

Jenta ser ut vinduet






Snø


Snø 




Arriving at Trondheim Vaernes lufthavn.

Waiting for the flight back to London Gatwick