Over the last three years my work has focused on two letters written during the week of the Easter Rising 1916. The work has taken many different forms and will be finishing as a piece of community street performance created in collaboration the Youth Project in St Andrews Resource Centre.
One element of the project was to work with young people to look at how Ireland today relates to the Proclamation that was written 100 years ago.
The group were all over 18 and led busy lives with work and college, so I wanted the workshops to be a positive experience of art and to give the group an opportunity to try a few new art techniques in a relaxed environment.
The participants came to the art workshops well informed, as the previous week they had participated in active citzenship workshops facilitated by Niamh and Valerie from NYCI.
I was immediately inspired by the strength of conviction and the awareness that the young people had around the issues that affect us all in today’s society. Spending time with this group refreshed my convictions; Environmentally, Socially and Politically!
Only one of the group was “Arty” so it was important that the group felt able to realise an image for the poster through a simple process. My task was to help them translate the issues that they had highlighted as important to Ireland in 2016, into a visual form.
We used the feedback phrases that the group had written in the previous workshops to design images that convey the message for their poster and we referenced copies of political posters to back up their phrases for inspiration.
“Reduce poverty and homelessness” – young person’s phrase
Below is a visual reference of a poster related to that issue
We then sketched out ideas and planned our colour combinations for the poster with paints. To make the poster we made stencil cutouts and built up the image using collage.
Gretta Halpin from the National Print Museum visted the second workshop and gave us a talk on the story behind how the origional proclamation was made using block printing, so we decided to try that printing technique as it related directly to the production of the origional proclamation. Although the block printing was fun to try, we decided the computer produced a more legible text!
In this project the visual arts has been used as a simple tool for a group of young people to make a poster.
Though let’s consider the engagement as a whole. Firstly, the group voiced political issues that were inspired by the political aspirations of Irish society 100 years ago, next, they explored the social history behind how the Proclamation came to be and then finally, they worked collaboratively to create an image that reflects the reality of living in Ireland in 2016.
These elements demanded attention, time and commitment from the group voluntarily. This has given me a wealth of inspiration and hope for the future.