#TAG.04 THREADS OF HOPE

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A Project by Art Hoppers
Supported by Gayhurst Community School

Exhibition #TAG.04 Threads of Hope

02/11/17 – 22/12/17

By Years 5&6

Private View: Thursday 2nd November 2017 / 5-7pm
Based on geography topic ‘The Windrush and Us’

Children studied the history of Empire Windrush which, on 22 June 1948 arrived at Tilbury dock in Essex carrying 492 passengers from Kingston, Jamaica. Passengers were tempted by low cost tickets coupled with the passing of the British Nationality Act in 1948. This meant that they and others living in Commonwealth countries acquired British Citizenship with full rights of entry and settlement. The voyage signals the beginning of a mass immigration movement from the Caribbean Islands to the UK which is often referred to as the Windrush generation.

The artworks – A collection of prints on textiles are inspired by British textile designer Althea McNish who moved to London from Trinidad in the early 1950’s. Years 5&6 prints are presented as shapes cut to dress patterns not yet assembled together raising the question of belonging – which pieces belong together? The reference to garments or clothing is also associated with personal belongings and identity.

The wires on which the prints hang, connect one end of the gallery, the Caribbean to the other, Britain and so represent the journey, travel or a crossing. The prints were designed to themes all of which have some relevance to life in the West Indies and that of post war Britain. They hang together as visual interpretations exploring the hope and disappointment surrounding the lives and events of the Windrush generation.

The exhibition addresses the struggle immigrants faced on arrival to post war Britain and the on-going fight for equality in the decades that followed. Racism was a brutal reality for families settling in Britain from the West Indies. Challenges in finding homes and jobs were commonplace.

#TAG.04 is inspired by the work of British textile designer Althea McNish who, the day after graduating from the Royal College of Art, won a commission from Arthur Stewart-Liberty, head of the Liberty department store. Arthur sent her that same day to Zika Ascher, a celebrated textile company who commissioned her to design a collection of fabrics for Dior the prestigious fashion label. Althea was the first Caribbean woman to be recognised for her success in this field in the UK.

One of her first designs to go into production was ‘Golden Harvest’ in 1959 – A print based on an Essex wheat field but using colours inspired by the Caribbean. Her designs were seen as progressive for the time and offered a new and exciting style for the British audience. ‘Golden Harvest’ along with a number of her early designs can be seen in the textile collection at the V&A.

Art Educators / Artists: Claire Ward-Thornton & Johanna Valeur.

VISIT BY APPOINTMENT
t: 020 7254 6138 / e: admin@gayhurst.hackney.sch.uk

ART SESSIONS

5 classes each working on a printing technique with various themes connected to Windrush (see exhibits)

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“I really enjoyed our session with Art Hoppers because I experienced something new… We got to draw the people we learned about like Vince Reid – he was brought to life.”

Joel, 6W

“I liked the printing technique because it taught me a different way to present art in a creative way. The session linked in well with what we have been learning in our topic work/ Black History Month. Drawing the passengers was fun and amazing.” 

Josiah, 6W

“Art Hoppers was fun and creative. We worked in twos and designed a background that was trying to show the journey that the Windrush went on over the sea from the Caribbean to England. I especially liked making the stamps for our block printing.” 

Iris S, 5B

EXHIBITS

Photos: Pau Ros. Pupils created print designs on fabric following 5 themes: The voyage (stencils / block printing), Caribbean flora (stencils), Calypso music (stencils), War torn Britain (stencils) & Portraits based on the personal stories of immigrants (Mono prints).

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“I thought the session was fun, creative and unique. I have never done printing before, so I learnt something new. I like the way it linked in with our topic work (The Windrush). I’m looking forward to the exhibition because we have done some amazing work. I absolutely loved the new technique.” Lola, 6W

“We had so much to do, I loved being able to do each part and stage of the block printing. It was really great fun and I would love to do it again!” Jay, 5B

“I liked the project because the colours were bright and vibrant and I also learned a new technique in art.” Bailey, 6C

THE OPENING

Photos: Polly Hancock. The private view was attending by families of years 5&6. Pupils took on the roles of greeting and hosting visitors and reporting on the events with comments from the audience… Delicious food by Nicole Pisani and team. THANK YOU.

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