Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Sing me to sleep

Lost in the woods. Sampling for the Sing me to sleep quilt.

We are delighted to announce that the first arthur+martha international project begins this week when Lois and Phil fly out to Lithuania to start Sing me to sleep. Two group quilts will be made collaboratively with homeless people in Britain and Lithuania. It's a conversation between two cultures, a dialogue sharing the arts of traditional embroidery techniques, quilt-patterning, poems and fairytales. The quilt will be themed around bed time stories, lullabies and the associations for homeless people this brings. 

This is part of our ongoing outreach work in association with the Text Festival at Bury Art Museum to experiment with language in collaboration with marginalised communities. All cultures in all parts of the world have stories told to send children to sleep, in the same way that there is a lullaby for every language. Some fairytales like Cinderella exist all over the world with slight variations - surely proof of our common humanity. Fairytales often have a darker side, but always violence is reversed, preserving the essential part of life without which we cannot prosper: hope. These stories will be refracted through different languages and through memory, making a rich crossover between the poles of experience and innocence.

Silhouette image from research

Sing me to sleep builds on previous achievements, continuing a sequence of collaborative quilts. These major text art/textile works enlist the skills and experience of hundreds of marginalised people. There are already two arthur+martha quilts in existence - one made by homeless people discussing warmth and cold, another award-winning quilt made by older people describing the two World Wars (yet another war quilt is currently in progress).

Detail from previous project, a quilt for when you are homeless

This is a partnership between the homeless community in both countries, arthur+martha CIC and VšĮ Socialiniai meno projektai arts organisations, the national gallery in Lithuania, Bury Art Gallery and homeless support organisation The Booth Centre - all of whom have an established reputation of working with marginalised people in pioneering and creative ways.

The project is funded by Arts Council England and the Lithuanian arts and health organisation VšĮ Socialiniai meno projektai. 

We would particularly like to thank Clive Parkinson for starting the conversation and Ieva Petkute for continuing it...

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