Could ordinary people be Modern Artists? The answer to this question is yes based on the experiences of the participants of an art project titled ‘Imagining a Better World’ that took place at Nottingham Contemporary.
As a part of celebration of the coming refugee week this year, a group of ordinary people were invited to take part in the eight-week project led by the associate artists of Nottingham Contemporary.
In the first week, the participants were divided into different groups and worked with people they might not know before, but shared views with people from other groups in the end. The associate artists guided the participants to explore the existing exhibitions of Thomas Demand and DAAR at Nottingham Contemporary and then asked them to talk about their understanding of the themes of the exhibitions and the messages that the artworks convey.
In the second and third weeks, the participants went with the associate artists' around the city to catch and record various sounds, e.g. the sounds of the tram, violin, footsteps, etc. Moreover, they tried to build models by utilizing various simple materials that could be found in daily life, e.g. paper board, plastics and cloth, etc. We were required to be blindfolded to touch and feel these materials.
In the following weeks we discussed and devised the final model. The image of home was recorded on the each building brick -‘warm’, ‘hug’, and ‘a safe corner’ - some words were surprisingly same, although they had been put forward by people from different continents, probably because every word and expression slipped from the mouth but burst from the bottom of heart.
The whole process of construction is through team work. People from different cultural backgrounds instilled their own interpretation and creativity into the project. They designed and made gates and ships reflective of their own ideas, and at the same time, they inspired each other like a group of real artists. Strangers became friends. Friendship has been built up, too.
The associate artists devoted themselves to the project and encouraged the participants to complete some abstract tasks like modern artists. Before taking part in the project, some participants had not been familiar with taking photos, not even taking with special effects, for instance, focusing on details by super macro. After the project, they learned the technique and took a great number of eye-catching and splendid pictures.
Therefore, it is a meaningful and unforgettable experience to be a modern artist for all participants. People from diverse cultures worked together to create a piece of artwork that embodies best wishes for a better world for all. Inspired by the artists and other team members, everybody perceived the power of art. Their own hands became their weapons of expression. Their eyes and mind have been ready to find beauty in the world and in other people.
The artwork created by the group has been curated into an exhibition called ‘The Smell of Bread’. It is now on show at the Central Lending Library, 1st Floor until the end of June.