Dolphin Loves Disco (and other favourite words), 2010
PEER Participate, supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation
I worked as Artist Ambassador with PEER over three years, devising projects with pupils at St. Monica’s RC Primary School towards showcase exhibitions at the gallery.
Dolphin Loves Disco (and other favourite words), the second project in the programme, explored the relationship between language and art making. Teasing out several concerns from my own practice, my ambitions for this project were to encourage and foster collaborative working among pupils across age groups, and to reveal how speaking, listening, reading and writing are vehicles for self-expression and creativity in both graphic and sonic forms. The title of the show – chosen by the pupils – is a playful demonstration of the power of words.
I devised weekly workshops for the children attending the After-School Club, which allowed them to experiment with ways to turn words into art. Using themselves as the subject matter the children produced textual artworks, which describe their lives and interests in dynamic ways. We started with the question: ‘where do we keep our ideas?’ and pupils made their own note/sketch/ideas/secret-books. We went on to explore various creative processes: considering how we use words when looking at visual art; making envelopes and writing letters to our future selves; using several typographic paraphernalia to make sentences; and making our own ‘St. Monica’s hieroglyphics’ to write in code. We ended by making this final, large-scale wall piece – Dolphin Loves Disco – based on the children’s favourite words in their own handwriting. During the project we looked at, discussed, and wrote about the artists featured in a season of PEER exhibitions: Anna Barriball, Joseph Cornell, Charles & Ray Eames, Robert Holyhead, Rachel Lowe, Christina Mackie, Selma Makela, and the local public art piece by Bob & Roberta Smith commissioned by PEER.