As part of our centenary year we have been working with three community partners: SHAK (South Hampstead and Kilburn Community Association) (Camden); Oxford House (Bethnal Green); and Paddington Arts (Westbourne Park) to celebrate 100 years of the Ben Uri. Taking inspiration from the exhibition Out of Chaos; Ben Uri: 100 Years in London in the Inigo Rooms, at Somerset House (2 July – 13 December 2015), each partner devised and delivered projects in collaboration with Ben Uri to engage their local communities.
Through collaborative, innovative and artistic workshops, project participants engaged with themes of art, identity and migration, as well as the story of Ben Uri and how this relates to their own story. The final works produced reflect our involvement with art and local communities as well as a wonderful portrayal of contemporary London.
Oxford House, Postcards from Aldgate East
Oxford House (Oh!) is a community and art centre in the heart of London’s East End. It’s mission is to be the place in east London where people come together to work, learn, explore, create and celebrate community and heritage.
Adult local residents were led by project leader Graham Barker, photography teacher Natalie Clarke and film company Blueprint Film Foundation on a number of photo walks in Aldgate East to document street life, architecture, cultural landmarks, local residents and workers. Historical postcards and photographs, behind-the-scenes visits to local landmarks inspired the project participants to create Postcards from Aldgate East, a series of photographic postcards and a short film recording today’s London East End. These illustrate beautifully Ben Uri’s early days and its rich collection of artworks.
Visit Oxford House for the exhibition Postcards from Aldgate East (2 – 31 July 2015).
John Ryan from Oxford House visited Out of Chaos and left us with his thoughts:
Paddington Arts is a Youth Arts organisation committed to developing talent and creativity in the community. They encourage young people to use the arts for self-expression and career development and value access, excellence, education and fun.
Working with our learning team, Youth Arts Participation and Development Manager, Eldora Edward and director of Paddington Arts, Steve Shaw, a group of 12 young people (aged 11-15 years old) created and produced a contemporary dance exploring the themes of identity and migration. The dance, filmed within the beautiful location of Somerset House, is a wonderful modern response to key works from the Out of Chaos centenary exhibition.
SHAK, London Locals
SHAK’s mission is to increase local community confidence and support community members in reaching their full potential. It does this by identifying and meeting the needs of South Hampstead & Kilburn residents, through promoting social inclusion, and by providing a range of effective services and opportunities.
This experimental project began with an intergenerational series of workshops and consultation of around 25 local adults and children. Together, they decided that the project would focus on the participant’s own story, told and documented as a group, through film. Working with filmmaker artist, Nela Milic, the group created a beautiful film, using some of Ben Uri’s key artworks as a backdrop to the participants’ own stories and personal record of London.
John Boyle from SHAK was kind enough to give us his impressions of Out of Chaos:
‘London Locals’ participant Shoda (with Sienna and Max) shares her experiences of working with SHAK and Ben Uri.