The Notice Board is now part of the Social Art Library. Led by Axis this is a great resourch of projects and artists The Notice Board’s entry can be found HERE:
A participant of Cultural Prescriptions used their £10 challenge [sent to buy materials to support their work and this Action Research] on a scratch card. The card formed part of a ‘care’ package sent to me. An idea that builds on the original packs sent to initiate the project. This version came with plastercine, my favourite crisps, a picture of a pit pony and other goodies. As I scratched the card during our most recent session, we collectively held our breathe in a beautiful poignant moment. Sadly we weren’t lottery winners, but instead we could see the impact of care, creative approaches and connection as powerful tools. Obvious maybe but not always visible and that’s why this research is relevant and timely for the Social Prescribers and their clients too.
I’ve been adapting postcards of figurative sculptures for an ongoing postal conversation with a friend. But by adding a title I encourage the meaning to slip and slide. I’ve struggled making images that are so obviously ‘people’. Yes, my work is all about people but rather I focus on the things they make and do. People are there, but as shadows, ghosts and metaphors.
In some respect that is true of the cards – the statues are hidden or hiding, removed, collaged over or peeled away to leave only a trace. The form is still present. Then today I was sent a quote by a woman I’m working with in Hull. It’s about ‘the other’ and how when we ‘other’ people/animals we create a kind of ‘ventriloquist dummy’. A puppet we talk across and give character too. The dummy is a side kick, a controversial or questionable cheeky character, with origins in interpreting internal voices that speak in the stomach. This made me think of these cards. It’s this, now, blindingly obvious realisation, that’s made me even more uncomfortable. The cards that dont work are where I throw my voice – where I deflect and attempt to entertain. So it’s back to the dreams and back to the drawing board, because only then will the outcomes be me and not a picture of the other me.
This image of my plait, cut off when I was 13, accompanies part of an email exchange with a wise woman from Hull. Together they will feature in a community newspaper being developed as part of my commission for 3 Ways East and The Brignall Trust.
KG: The hair-growing-cutting-selling-re-growing that you do is interesting and I’d love to know more details – I’ve realised it’s a metaphor for how you live your life?
N: “hair-growing-cutting-selling-re-growing “- at first I thought to correct the ‘selling’ part. It brings me connotations of something not pure, something with a price tag. However in the core of the things you are right thou.. I do “sell” my hair, because I do get something in return. It is the pleasure that my hair could make the hard time some little kid goes through a little bit more human, normal, pretty even. I do love it. Same as blood donations, same is smiling to people, same as to pick up the key someone dropped in front of me. In our daily life we constantly interact with other people and of course we prefer when our interactions are with people we like, or make us feel good etc. In those moments we are taking, right? We learn to look after ourselves and we most of the time know how to take, without even thinking about it. We deserve it- right? We all deserve the best. But there are sometimes in life when people get the short stick. I had moments like that in my life? Did you? ..I think everyone has.. and in those moments to have somebody around us and to help us is game changer. I’m not so clever to be able to create a medicine to cure cancer. I’m not strong enough to be able to take the pain away from the people. I’m not wise enough to discover the way of happy, no trouble lifestyle and I don’t know many languages so to be able to share the truth with everyone… but I have hair- not the best hair, but I look after it well, grow it long as I can and then shave it, donate it to a charity for wigs for little brave fighters and hope that, this will make them smile even for one precious moment. I love giving. There is this saying “Whatever You Give is Truly Yours”.
Leeds Art Gallery posted this today: Still life as a way of describing a particular kind of subject matter in art practice has been used for a very long time. The Tate says, “Still life includes all kinds of man-made or natural objects, cut flowers, fruit, vegetables, fish, game, wine and so on. Still life can be a celebration of material pleasures such as food and wine, or often a warning of the ephemerality of these pleasures and of the brevity of human life (see memento mori).
From this it’s clear that some artists who make artworks about man made and natural objects are communicating something beyond the look of the things they are picturing. Paint, stone and plastic are just a few of the materials that can be used to make a Still Life artwork. The objects in themselves could also be used as well. In Still Life art, it is the selection, arrangement and picturing of objects that communicates what an artist wants to say. So what can Still Life art say about Stilled Lives, and can it help us notice how we are feeling and thinking?
We’ve put together a package of resources, including an electronic copy of a collection artwork and an art-film, to explore these ideas further. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to know more.
Image: Various Flowers (c1807–76) by Narcisse Virgile Diaz de la Pena (c) the Bridgeman Art Library
Today’s Zoom session for Art Derbyshire and the Cultural Prescribing pilot went to new levels. [A commission that sees me working closely with Link Worker staff from across the county to consider how engaging in creative activity helps nurture them and support the work they do with their clients]. By their very nature these highly motivated stretched to capacity workers are empaths and generous. They make do with little resources and are driven by the limitations. Both of which makes me not surprised by their responses to the question: Would you eat the last biscuit or give it away? All said ‘give it away’ bar one who only then would save half for herself.
Why though were we considering this question? I was initially interested in mirroring their responses back to catalyse a conversation about value and worth. I wanted us to consider how given our traits and the nature of the role, our answer would help us she how we can be easily led into a position of being exhausted or put upon. I wanted, I guess, to see how thinking about ourselves is as important as what we deliver. And as a good friend of mine would say: “if I’m overwhelmed I cant be of use, so being safe is about staying useful”. This all links back to considerations I’ve done over many years in relation to resilience, both of ourselves and the nurturing of it with others. Resilience I believe is about accessing, acting on and actioning choice and often we cant do this when we’ve given away everything. I, alongside artist Katie Smith, considered this at Ash Villa – a young people unit in Lincolnshire. We used the biscuit idea, then as now, as a metaphor to consider concepts of why we loose focus, loose resilience, loose power… we considered how if we give away all our power in the support and help of others we become depleted.
But why is this interesting for Link workers today? Of course it addresses the same Resilience ideas. But also I propose it helps us consider in a creative, artful, skewed, non-direct way, a base line assessment? Maybe it also reminds us that just because you can doesn’t mean you should, which might help us to consider choice? Does it let us reflect on where we all stand as we start, alerting us to our own health/wellbeing – helping us consider how close to exhaustion or overload we are? I wonder too can asking the biscuit question of others help us be more responsible of what we ask of them? I would argue that saving the last biscuit helps us see our own agency and gives us the power to demand that we deserve to be cared for to?
My commission for Derby County Council/Arts Derbyshire and Social Prescribing Link Workers got under way yesterday. Packs containing postcards, plastercine, a white hanky with ironed on badge, sweets, a still-life image, were posted last week for use during our zoom session. Over the 2 hours we shared stories, considered the pack and displayed our work on the unfolded white hankies.
After the session I had 2 realisations. One that this approach born out of lockdown is now a great method showing how quick we acclimatise and adapt. Secondly how the items I sent in the post, that were meant to stand in for real objects are of course objects – in other words they became readymades rather than representations and this seems interesting and significant
The Notice Board is one of the featured Home Gallery spaces that Rhiannon Edwards has celebrated her on this new website. She writes: Home galleries are spaces in the homes of art lovers dedicated to the work of artists. This is an open-ended project that attempts to reach forward and backwards in time and right around the planet. Right now the galleries shown are overwhelmingly from the western world, however there are more locations to come and the intention is to show the global picture. To bring together the work of people all over the world who keep some of the most exciting ideas in art thriving – often with little or no external support. Im glad my work is part of this great growing collection
Title: Lands of the Free?
The Notice Board brings international artists work to Uffington inviting you to consider their responses to an ongoing theme: The Lands of the Free? This month we feature a series of photographs taken by Robert Johnstone who since 2010 has lived outside of the UK. He is researching how recipes travel in the Mediterranean. Alongside this work he documents handmade interventions in the communities he visits. A selection is offered here; hung in pairs to create a conversation which you are invited to join. @noticeboardunited
TNB: How have you understood the theme?
RJ: The Land of the Free? wasn’t a theme when I took these photos, it has come as I thought about which images to show. Over time, during my travels, I’ve had the realisation there is no free place. Instead there are lots of boundaries, permitted spaces, prohibitions. People, all of us, limit things, we demark space, control how others view or navigate and those with ownership delineate to reveal their possession. This of course affects people moving freely. It’s about control. We can see it here in the white lines, the stones piled up, the walls, the grapevine trained to grow over the rock, the greenhouses on the Libyian Sea with vegetables from the Americas and workers from Bangladesh.
TNB: Is place important to these handmade improvisations too?
RJ: Yes of course. I like that in most cases the responses are frugal and local; done with resources and skills at hand. People have responded to the place and their needs and used what they have – its grass roots creativity. The things I photo are not made by artisans, just regular people who have been clever, problem solved and provided often elegant responses.
TNB: Why the double sided flag?
RJ: All the photos are taken in either of those countries. It represents the commonality found rather than the division, these 2 countries have a complex and often troubled relationship, now and in the past, but they share The Aegean Sea, but define their differences with language and hide their similarities with the same.
You can follow Robert here @insightofthesea blog & his website is coming soon.
Exhibition 13 is now open at The Notice Board in my Uffington front garden. More images can be found on instagram @noticeboardunited The show will feature a changing selection of drawings, posters & words from across the Consequences project. Developed and delivered with Sarah Haythornthwaite and Ruth Campbell at Metal Peterborough the project brought together 100’s of women from across the region to talk and draw and connect. Started before Covid it adpated to online and postal approaches as we went into lockdown. More work, how to get involved and ways to order resources can we found at http://whataretheconsequences.co.uk
Importantly Consequences fits with the Notice Boards themes: The Land of the Free? as the project enabled women to explore, learn and consider different cultures, religions, ideas and approaches to support them consider notions of equality and freedom.
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