Art Workshops for Pupils from North East London

Our four year long partnership with Art Night festival continues with an even more exciting project this year. For the first time in the festival’s history, one of the 12 Curated Programme projects is co-created with young people.

Throughout May 2019, renowned artist Shiraz Bayjoo is working with 8 pupils of Mission Grove Primary School in Walthamstow on the production of a short film.

Shiraz Bayjoo’s commission for Art Night explores notions of migration and displacement through a short 16mm film. Bayjoo asked the children to consider their rights as young people alongside their own experiences of courage and overcoming adversity. Together they interrogated the myriad experiences of trans-migratory groups today, bringing together their understandings of displacement, loss and courage and voicing the importance of personal agency in the world they will inherit.

The school is located in Waltham Forest and welcomes the richness that the social and cultural diversity of the Borough brings to its community. This diversity is reflected in the teaching, policies and the school environment. In this context, investment in culture is essential to ensure that everyone enjoys a great quality of life and gives young people something to inspire them so we believe that Mission Grove Primary School will benefit a lot from the artistic engagement and involvement in a project like this.

The workshops will utilise the principles of Iniva’s in-school learning programme which supports the wellbeing of young people through the encounter with art. During this activity, the pupils learn about human rights, read poetry, create their own imaginary characters, write stories around their characters, based on their own experiences of overcoming adversity and design – together with the artist’s studio and printing team – fabric prints, costumes and masks for their characters. They also work with a dramaturg and are involved in filming process.

The children learn a range of new artistic skills and techniques including painting, collage, fabric design, film, poetry, writing and drama. They also learn to research as an artist does and considering 'meaning making' through art making. The skills they learn and the emotional experience of working with an artist for a public artwork gives the children a boost of inspiration and curiosity that play a fundamental role for their development.

After the workshops finish, Shiraz Bayjoo and his studio will produce the final 16 mm filmed video on Kodak film. It will be screened in Empire Cinema in Waltham Forest on the 22 June 2019 during Art Night festival – this will contribute to a sense of pride of the young participants.

As a legacy element of the project, Iniva – together with the artist – will develop a set of learning resources based on the subjects explored during the workshops, also for distribution to other schools in the area. The teachers can use these resources in class to enhance the children’s learning with an artistic angle.

We are excited to collaborate with Art Night, Iniva and Shiraz Bayjoo on this project that opens up new ideas and perspectives for young people who might not have had a chance to engage in an artistic process otherwise.

About Art Night

Art Night is London’s largest free contemporary art festival, transforming the city annually for one unforgettable night. Each year, Art Night invites a leading cultural institution or curator to explore the history, culture and architecture of a different part of London, inspiring a series of new commissions, one off events and premieres by international and local artists from all stages of their careers. Alongside this, the Art Night Open programme offers local organisations, independent artists and curators the opportunity to take part in the festival — responding to the curatorial ideas and cultural

trail. Art Night contributes to the UK’s art sector through its Legacy programme, which delivers co-commissions, acquisitions for public collections and prolonged display periods — enabling broader audiences to enjoy the programme, year-round. The festival was conceived and founded by Ksenia Zemtsova and Philippine Nguyen.

About Iniva

Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) is an evolving, radical visual arts organisation dedicated to developing an artistic programme that reflects on the social and political impact of globalisation. With the Stuart Hall Library acting as a critical and creative hub for their work, they collaborate with artists, curators, researchers and cultural producers to challenge conventional notions of diversity and difference. They engage a wide audience, particularly young people, in discourse and debate on issues surrounding the politics of race, class and gender. Through their programme, they work predominantly with British-born and British-based visual artists of African and Asian descent supporting them at different stages in their careers. By cultivating innovative thinking, they are committed to disseminating research across a wide cultural spectrum and geographical network. Their ambition is to build a greater body of knowledge around each of the artists with whom they work to ensure the legacy of those practices for future generations of researchers and audiences.

About the Artist

Shiraz Bayjoo’s practice explores the social, political and historical conditions integral to Mauritian cultural identity and the wider Indian Ocean region. Often using photographs and artefacts from public and personal archives, culminating in a multidisciplinary practice of video, painting, photography and sculpture. His practice considers the formation of collective identity and nationhood through the entangled legacies of European colonialism, and their relationships to slavery and migration.

Luciana Sakellariou