The Notice Board – Madhu Manipatruni

This months exhibition [July 15- Aug 15th] is titled: Hands of Otherness and features Madhu Manipatruni work. She is showing a scaled photo of a quilted panel and a hand painted flag.

Madhu says: Kantha is embroidery quilting usually made to reuse, repurpose cloth. Kantha is rooted in India and created by women as a communal activity. Sheesha work, the embedding of mirrors, is traditional in Indian embroidery too. In this instance, the cloth [of both the flag and stitched piece], unbleached handloom cotton arrived from India. This also signifies my journey. Having lost my father recently, I started to sew, to self soothe and recover from the loss. This handloom cloth is of significance within our family and traditions.

The handprint relates to creating a home and positive new beginnings. It also references the tribal art made by women in India; they handprint on houses, temples and objects to ensure well-being of family and their belongings. Here the hand prints signify, being here and now, making a new home in England. The patterned embroidery on the hands alludes to henna patterns. Henna/Mehandi is a ceremonial design made on hands of brides in South Asian cultures. On the quilt these depict the stories of women, how they or their mothers arrived in the UK as partners of the economic migrants. They stand for the shared experiences of loss, pain, loneliness and invisibility. These experiences are inherited, passed down the generations through storytelling. Here they are lines, colours and stitches.

The Notice Board curates its exhibitions to a theme: The Lands of the Free? For this show we may wonder if this relates to Madhu’s act of stitching to cope or the ambitions of South Asian citizens during the act of migration? It may also reference the spaces created when women gather to share and support one another or maybe it’s quilt itself that enables us to imagine cultures and geographies different to our own? Maybe it’s all of them and now The Notice Board invites you to decide for yourself.        


For many weeks I have been replying to young people for my LEEDS2023 commission – Letting Culture Loose. Our conversation started, back in March, when I sent out a provocation – ‘Imagine Leeds afresh – a city for the future. If you could make it and build it any way you liked, what would it be?‘ Hundreds of idea and images have flooded in. In reply I decided to collage, draw and photoshop new works that are inspired by their submissions. These will be printed, then collated into series of boxsets for pop up exhibitions before one is chosen for sharing across the city.

Who’s Culture? Final findings

Over the last few months I have worked directly within Peterborough’s rural neighbourhoods. For a Lead Artist commission for Peterborough’s Cultural Strategy group – Who’s Culture? The project aimed to give voice to those that have not been involved in CSG consultations to date. Metal and I developed an approach and model that has proven to be successful. One where I and a further 6 commissioned artists worked within their own networks. These close trust filled relationships enabled authentic connection and deep listening. Were possible even in light of Covid resilient and helped us turn work around fast. Mark Richards – director at Metal Sarah Tanburn – Consultant and I are due to write up our working model, looking at its detail and potentials. We will release this in due course.

I connected to the farming community and specialist associated with the countryside in the city region. The resulting set of works are a summary of the research – in a material form. But perhaps more importantly than this they both invite and activate change. Details of all the I sleep in the bed i was born are HERE and other works can be found HERE.

I supported the 6 artists in the delivery and development of their work.Which has been revealing and a pleasure. I have learn’t from their research and approaches. The artist were Wanja Kimani, Madhu Mani, Kristine Viavode. Vicky Wild and Aryana Ramkhalawon , and Dan Butt. All our research showed the urgent need for change in how the city region engages and represents its residents. At the final presentation I spoke of the democratisation of culture and the important role artists take in connecting to marginalised voices – making visible those who have and continue to remain left out, silenced or belittled.

The Notice Board – OSR Projects/Tim Mills

Alone with Everybody [15 June- 15 July]. This month’s collaboration is with OSR Projects. Who, like The Notice Board, have a specific mission to support artists and communities using arts based activities. Their recent 3 day ‘Od Art Festival’ brought exhibitions, performances, film and workshops by local and international artists to not-so-sleepy Somerset. The Notice Board extends this happily, acting as an outpost, showcasing an Od Arts Festival inspired flag and art work by Tim
Mills who was part of the larger festival.

The Od Art Festival took ‘Alone with Everybody’ as a guiding theme and explored loneliness – what it is, how we experience it, where it comes from, and how it might be addressed. The Notice Board presents one image from Tim Mills series of portraits, Terminal. A series of these were presented across 12 locations during Od Arts Festival. The portraits were produced using the website Chat Roulette, a social network connecting strangers around the world through their webcams. Lone figures were captured on camera just before leaving the chat.
Tim Mills is a visual artist and curator who uses photography and re-appropriated archive material
as a means of intervention
OSR Projects connects people through artist-led activity, exploring new ways to see, hear, feel and think – from their base in rural Somerset.

Working with potter Rob Bibby

One of the outcomes of my work for the ‘Who’s Culture?’ commission [see more info here] for the Peterborough Cultural Strategy Group is this giant [shown unfinished] slipware multi handled vessel. Made in collaboration with the potter Rob Bibby, it stands at over 14 inches high. Rob threw the main pot, I attached 24 handles, before he adding his trade mark thumb print and 3 strikes and then to complete I scratched words into its surface. It’s made of terracotta with white earthenware slip and handles. It will be clear glazed and completed with the addition of giant cork stopper.

I didnt know Rob until this project unearthed him and its been a joy spending time with him in his ex-chapel workshop. Together we have experimented, talked of radical art education, making and what this piece means.

I propose the piece is a summary of the ecology and values of the place and people I’ve met – understood in material form. It needs a community to lift and manoeuvre it and, like the tools and architectures Ive drawn before, it’s not fully alive until used. As a metaphor we could see it being of and about the earth and those who work that ground. It references funerary vessels, loving cups and water carriers, yet is a contemporary – it holds the past and the present in balance.

Together with an invitation to gather and a catalogue, this pot, will be shared publicly on July 1st, before featuring on the CSG website.

The Notice Board – Kevin Boardman and Kate Genever

Kevin Boardman, a Manchester based artist, and I are showing a collaborative work at The Notice Board between May 15 and June 15th. Over the last year we have taken it in turns to work on a single sheet of A1 white paper – posting it, back and forth, in the same brown envelope 12 times. The exhibition temporarily halts the process and reveals the works current combined and woven state. When the show ends we will continue. We have never met or spoken and are in many ways strangers, yet our pen-pal like friendship has brought us into a conversation, which has become richer over time. The flag features work by both of us sewn together.

“I wrap myself around your shape” – link worker

My commission for Arts Derbyshire, in support of their Cultural Prescribing project with the counties Social Prescribing Link Workers, has developed into a fascinating project. Filled with wise and caring people who despite their best efforts have a pandemic, zoom and a rising work load to help them on their way. Our work together supports them like group creative supervision while also producing outcomes, such as a zine of Joyful Interruptions, for use with clients. Currently we are working on a Manifesto that gathers their wisdoms, bringing into one space the true extent of their work. Which interestingly mirrors artist approaches and processes – namely exploration, digression, emergent thinking and responsive feel.

Cultral Strategy commissions

I am happy to have been commissioned as Lead Artist by the Peterborough Cultural Strategy Group (CSG) and Metal. Within that commission I will be supporting 4 other artists develop new works. As such we wish to commission four artists, from Peterborough (and surrounding villages) to:
• Work alongside lead artist
• Lead conversations about culture with your existing networks – providing insights on identified themes to help the CSG with their future thinking.
• Create artworks that catalyse or reflect on these conversations – for sharing and use on the new CSG website
• Creatively capture/record the ideas people share – giving voice to people who have not been involved in CSG consultations to date or those that perhaps don’t see themselves as ‘cultured’.
This opportunity is open to artists from any artform or discipline (visual artists, illustrators,photographers, writers, poets, film makers, musicians etc) with the final outcome presented digitally.
We are seeking artists interested in using inclusive and collaborative approaches. For example, your conversations may inform a piece of work based on what you hear and learn. Or you might work collaboratively with people, talking and listening as you go, that results in a co-designed artwork that captures ideas.
We are keen to hear from artists from diverse backgrounds (ethnicity, disability, class, sexuality etc) and younger people who don’t think that the mainstream cultural offer is relevant to them or their interests and stories aren’t represented.


The Notice Board – Mark Richards and Kate Genever

Mark Richards and Kate Genever
Title: The Land of the Free

The Notice Board believes that art is not just useful as a way of coping but as a place to speak our truths. However, some of these truths have been and often still are controlled by historians, curators, politicians, leaving us with normative narratives and prohibitive policies that reflect the so called ‘mainstream’ and their values. But The Notice Board was, in part, imagined as a challenge to them and this. It’s a place where people and ideas previously excluded, marginalised or overlooked are given voice. The Notice Board opens a window onto a world that has always existed – a world we’ve been led to believe wasn’t there or true. One that’s been written out and supressed, sometimes glimpsed, but mostly kept at the edges or in the shadows. But Mark and Kate’s work tells of this free land – an open, fluid and accepting place which The Notice Board is proud to pull back the curtain on and celebrate.

Mark and Kate said: It started last summer between lockdown 1 and 2. We decided to send postcards to one another. But not any postcards- rather ones that featured portraits or figures and that we had adapted. We decided to use collage, giving ourselves permission to play without worry and to make without expectation. Collage allows you to work quickly, be inventive and invite in chance. Ideas bubble up – it lets your brain wander and gives your subconscious room to reveal the things that matter and as a direct response to the imagery already presented.

When we started we didn’t know where we’d end up or what might emerge. But given everything – our lives, histories, experiences – we maybe could have guessed. Working on postcards featuring historic artworks, our adaptions have invariably challenged the traditional narratives of figurative representation and art history.

Identity, Gaze, Shame, Muse, Androgyny, Commonality, Queer, Drag, Transgression, Fluidity, Defiance, Resistance, Joy, Love, Duality, Disclosure, Conversation, History, Masks, Disguises, Performance, Power, Seeing, Seen, Equality, Now, Forever, Us – seem important words as we invite you into the conversation to see what you see.

Invited speaker -CHWA conference

I’m very happy to have been invited to share the Cultural Prescriptions work I’ve been delivering for Arts Derbyshire and Derbyshire County Council at this years CHWA conference. There’s more info about the commission here along with images of work to date.

A link to the session recording and resources shared as part of the session can be found HERE

The CHWA national conference will be held online across 3 days, 21-23 April 2021. Its core theme of care includes caring for each other, caring for the environment and caring economies. They plan to be delving into conversations about the big topics that have been amplified by Covid-19, including practitioner support and grappling with the sector’s role in challenging health inequalities, reflecting on how we can work more collaboratively and more intersectionally to address the multiple emergencies we face; a global health pandemic, the climate and ecological emergency, and rising inequality.


End of content