Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Working on my birthday :D

Nah, I celebrated on my weekend off work then back to work Monday morning!! Woman from ESOL had contacted us in the hopes of us doing some work to illustrate the stories from people in her class. ESOL is a English teaching organisation for asylum seekers, refugees etc to give them a chance at a better future, working and living in the UK. We were given a booklet of stories they had written up about their journeys and perceptions of their lives. Some of these had really strong visual suggestions in them, whereas others were more of a challenge. I illustrated 2 of the stories, and 2 of the poems in a combined piece. She loved them and so I'm working on 2 more to expand the exhibition to be shown from this Friday to next week for equality and diversity week. For a change I've created the work EXACTLY as I imagined and EXACTLY as I sketched the plans out. If I work under pressure I don't have time to go off on a tangent - I just get the work done :) I chose to make them cos I like making things. Simples.

This piece was illustrating 2 of the poems - one explained how we are ALL travellers, no matter what our labels and origins, we are all travelling through time; through life. We are all just trying to find our way, which is why I have incorporated images even of celebrities because people seem to forget they are people too. The other poem was about how we can get sentimental over the strangest of things, in this person's case, over a tree. Would trees be the same in every country? No, you'll never find that tree again. The tree to me is like a symbol of childhood, I remember climbing the trees as a kid to sit in and swing from. This tree, or rather, this emotion would not be the same again. I found very similar looking 'trees' and placed a single spotlight (unfortunately not clear in this photo, but hopefully will be at the exhibition) above one of the trees to single it out. It might look the same as the others to us as the viewers but might hold something special and different. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Or something to that effect.

This is from a story by a man from Kurdistan. As a small kid he fled his country and lived for years in caves and Turkish camps with his family, until one day he found his brother dead. He fled and ended up in the UK where he says by day he is man who is 'on his way', but at night, he is a child again, living in the caves with only the stars as lights.

This is by a Lithuanian woman called Margarita. She explained the lack of communication and understanding of the culture felt like she was in the desert without water. Immediately, and probably quite obviously, I imagined this bottle full of words that she couldn't access, couldn't say. The sandpaper is an obvious visual suggestion that I hope people will feel and react to. She said how every night she prayed to God for help. I researched into the Lithuanian for that term and used that rather than the English. I really hope I got it right because I want to be able to connect with her and have her understand something other people do not, this way the roles have been reversed. Her story was really interesting with this metaphor as towards the end she stated that although she now has some water, it is only really just enough for survival.

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