From an angel and a tennis player to a joyfully paint-splashed lady, Hangleton and East Brighton residents have been creating life-size ‘avatars’: colourfully painted, cut-out figures that explore who they are or who they would like to be for a Brighton Festival project called Looking Through Each Other’s Eyes.
Newly appointed as a Your Place artist-in residence, Brighton-based Kiki Stickl led workshops in the run up to the Brighton Festival Your Place weekends (19 & 20 May, Hangleton and 26 & 27 May, East Brighton) for the project which aims to offer local residents aged from 10 to 80-years-old the chance to take part in free creative activities and learn more about their neighbours at the same time.
Kiki Stickl says: “Being resident artist for Your Place has been a really exiting experience for me. In the series of workshops in the lead up to the Festival weekends, I’ve been working with people from 10 years old to 80 plus. Within the three-hour workshops of drawing, painting, thinking, talking, new members of our avatar-family were created: an outcome of a very concentrated and yet fun work by the artists in the workshop. Each figure has its own story – a protective avatar, an angel, a rainbow-holder, a joyfully paint-splashed lady and a tennis player.”
The completed avatars will be on display in each location during the upcoming Festival weekends. Kiki Stickl will also be running creative drop-in workshops offering the chance for visitors to make a wishing flag or a cut-out flower to give to a loved one.
Kiki Stickl continues: “It was wonderful to see how people who may not normally consider engaging with the arts were immediately engrossed in the creative process, taking crayons and paintbrushes and confidently starting to create their figures. Jean, who is in her 80s, had a clear idea of painting an angel – in between she became concerned that it might turn into a clown, and at the end, she was happy that it looked more like an angel again. Evelyn created a performance painting: after painting initially using a huge brush she then splashed paint onto her figure and finally made handstands on it with using her hands which she covered in paint. What an energetic young lady and what an energetic figure she produced!”
As a Your Place Artist in Residence, Kiki is working alongside fellow artist Kate McCoy, who has been leading a series of workshops known as Random Acts of Neighbourliness, which encourages participants to share experiences of their own neighbourhoods to create a ‘visual map’ of the area and to come up with creative ideas to get to know their neighbours and bring the community together.
After a year of working together with Brighton Festival and Brighton People’s Theatre, the community steering committees of East Brighton & Hangleton are proud to bring back Your Place for a second year. Your Place is a free partnership project run by the Brighton Festival, Brighton People’s Theatre and two resident led, community development projects on either side of the city: Due East and the Hangleton and Knoll Project.
Valerie Foucher, Hangleton Community Centre Manager says: “Your Place has opened a door that we do not want to close again.”
With a steering group of local people from both communities over the last year to co-programme and co-design Your Place for the 2018 Brighton Festival, this year’s programme is full of brilliant shows and workshops from the likes of David Shrigley, The Ragroof Players, The Future is Unwritten Theatre Company, Herringbone Arts, Joanna Neary, Kate McCoy, Culture Clash, Touched Theatre, Dundu and Worldbeaters, Brighton & Hove Music & Arts and many more. This year will also see bouncy castles, delicious food and more activities for people of ages.
Naomi Alexander, Artistic Director of Brighton People’s Theatre, says: “Your Place is a partnership project run by Brighton Festival, Brighton People’s Theatre and two resident-led, community development projects on either side of the city: Due East and the Hangleton and Knoll Project. We have been working with a steering group of local people from both communities over the last year to co-programme and co-design Your Place for the Brighton Festival 2018. We are really excited about all the brilliant shows and workshops that are part of this year’s programme.”
Find out more: www.brightonfestival.org