We Face Forward - 'Rags to Riches' @Manchester Art Gallery, Part 1

Phew... I'm on a roll! Here's a selection of images taken in the 'Rags to Riches' summer family workshops at Manchester Art Gallery as part of the We Face Forward festival across Manchester.

Inspired by Nnenna Okore's artwork 'When the Heavens Meet the Earth', we have been challenging ourselves to transform waste materials into wondrous works of art. Okore uses a range of natural materials which she deconstructs, decays, dyes, reforms, etc. She works with natural materials such as paper, clay, burlap and natural dyes.

Over the past couple of weeks in the gallery, we have been focusing on line and form, producing drawings and experimenting with newspaper in the gallery in front of the artwork. Downstairs we've been working with a range of waste materials to create colliograph prints. We also had a lot of fun exploring different ways to shape clay using key words as prompts... what fun!

Links:

http://www.nnennaokore.com/

http://www.wefaceforward.org/artists/nnenna-okore

http://www.wefaceforward.org/venues/manchester-art-gallery

http://www.facebook.com/ManchesterArtGallery#

http://www.manchestergalleries.org/

Mini Art Club: in the heart of the city

This month's 'We Face Forward' Mini Art Club session responded to the artist Piniang's semi-abstract collaged paintings 'Flood in the Suburb 1 and 2' and 'Power Cut in the Suburb'. Piniang (real name Ibrahima Niang) is a multi-media artist who works with a fusion of materials. HIs paintings depict the architecture of Dakar and somehow capture the chaos of an overcrowded city after a flood or power cut. Here, Piniang is concerned with population growth and urban development out of control.

Families visited the exhibition virtually in the dark, accompanied by the frenetic beat of the drum played by Danny Henry. We then headed down to the studio to mark-make and explore various recycled materials, focusing on the colour palette in Piniang's work. We later constructed (and knocked down) a fragile cardboard city, and danced to the beat of a chaotic city, led by the amazingly versatile Danny.

What a fast, colourful, frenzied and fun morning!

Links:

http://www.wefaceforward.org/venues/manchester-art-gallery

http://www.wefaceforward.org/artists/piniang

http://www.facebook.com/ManchesterArtGallery#

http://www.mancky.co.uk/?p=3896

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xR8-EWcRo08

Mini Art Club is 50!

We've just had our 50th Mini Art Club... and what a morning!

As part of the 'We Face Forward' summer programme, we responded to artist Nnenna Okore's work 'Where Heaven Meets the Earth', concentrating on the theme of decay and transformation. Materials to be explored and transformed were a variety of recycled papers, different consistencies and types of clay, as well as natural materials such as hessian, twine, vegetables and spices!

Okore is particularly concerned with re-using and transforming materials, working into them using a variety of techniques to test the limits of each material as it deconstructs, falls apart, decays, fades, changes colour, etc. We attempted to explore this laying out a wet clay and natural dye room with paper and also a dark, shadowy paper room. To complement and extend this further, dancer, percussionist and musician Danny Henry interpreted key words (such as rip, stamp, fold) through a series of beats, rhythms and movement - much to the delight of everyone involved! It was really insightful to work with such a diverse and experimental performer who instinctively understood the ethos of Mini Art Club.

Such a great way to celebrate our 50th session!

N.B. Lo-fi mini vid clips hopefully coming up soon!

Links:

http://www.nnennaokore.com/

http://www.wefaceforward.org/venues/manchester-art-gallery

http://www.wefaceforward.org/artists/nnenna-okore

http://www.facebook.com/ManchesterArtGallery#

http://www.mancky.co.uk/?p=3896

 

 

We Face Forward: Magic Materials - 'Mini Junk Palace'

It's been a long and colourful week working on our Junk Palace project at Manchester Art Gallery!

Drawing inspiration from We Face Forward artist Pascale Marthine Tayou's 'Poupées Pascales' - 16 unique dolls hidden all around the art gallery for this summer's 'We Face Forward'- we created two exciting studio spaces for participants to explore the world of found objects and materials in novel and interesting ways. I worked alongside visual artist Sarah Marsh and fashion designer Mary Ononokpono of Mononoko fashion to develop the concept for the workshop. We came up with some excellent ways of fashioning plastic bags, newspaper, old electronic parts and west african fabrics into chunky accessories, jewellery and other such wonderful forms!

I also tailored the session to create today's Mini Art Club - Mini Junk Palace for little ones aged 0-5 years, to explore a beautiful, colourful, tactile environment. A big thanks to artist & filmmaker Jess Wild for supporting today's session along with volunteers Liz and Sabeena. Also thank you to Jali Nyonkoling Kuyateh for playing the Kora and lending us one of his CDs to fill the Junk Palace with beautiful music!

Links:

http://www.pascalemarthinetayou.com/

http://www.wefaceforward.org/artists/pascale-marthine-tayou

http://www.evelynarts.co.uk/

http://www.msafropolitan.com/2011/08/msafropolitan-boutique-interview-series-mary-onokpono-of-mononoko.html

http://www.manchesterfashion.com/c/19/223/mononoko-conscience-culture-couture

 

 

We Face Forward - Print workshop at the Gallery of Costume, Platt Fields, Manchester

I had a lovely time yesterday working at the Gallery of Costume, creating prints inspired by 'We Face Forward's' photos from the Mali Photography Archive. Workshop participants spent some time looking at and drawing photos to get ideas for patterns and prints before doing some simple but effective mono-printing and block printing. It was also great to work to live music being performed in the gallery. Thanks to the volunteers for their hard work! [gallery columns="2"]

Tomorrow, there's more fun to be had at Manchester Art Gallery's 'Junk Palace' - an open-ended exploration of materials creating journey necklaces, accessories and an installation space (responding to the work of Pascale Marthine Tayou).

Links:

http://www.manchestergalleries.org/our-other-venues/platt-hall-gallery-of-costume/exhibition-programme/

http://www.wefaceforward.org/venues/gallery-costume

http://www.facebook.com/ManchesterArtGallery