Tuesday, 6 December 2016

A wee light at the end of the tunnel

Danny Collins

'So many of the books have so much to say, doom and gloom and a wee light at the end of the tunnel- there is a light at the end of the tunnel- but it's a long bloody tunnel.' Lawrence McGill

Howard Installing books for The Homeless Library

Yesterday saw the exhibition install of two arthur+martha projects at Bury Art Museum, The Homeless Library and Sing me to Sleep, a British-Lithuanian art project.

The Homeless Library, is a fraction of a heritage: the unwritten, unheard stories of homeless people. The exhibition in Bury shares 50 plus books, full of artworks, poems and interviews.

Riff Raff

Lawrence identified one of the problems with showing artist books behind glass: 'you only get one page of the book, it's like only getting one page of Alice in Wonderland, you're not getting the full story- that's why I flattened that one out (Riff Raff, shown above) so you could read the whole thing.

Another member of the group pointed out: you might only get one page of each story, but it all comes together with snippets of other peoples stories...

Lawrence, Egle and Howard installing The Homeless Library

For the install of The Homeless Library, I was joined by Gary, Howard, Masoud, Lawrence and Paul from The Booth Centre, (a day center for people who are or who have experienced homelessness) Over the last few years, Phil and I have learnt so much from The Booth Centre and friend to arthur+martha
clinical psychologist Polly Kaiser, about the importance of participants being involved at ever stage of a project, of finding ways of this not being a token gesture, but a opportunity to truly learn from each other.

Leaping from the success of the Homeless Library presentation at The University of Glasgow,  I stood back and handed over the curating to the rest of the group. 

As soon as the cases were open, they got on with the task- made all the decisions as to what was going where, read the books carefully and decided what pages were to be left open, and all done in such an amazing co-operative sensitive way- no bickering, no ego, but respect for each other and the work, the results are wonderful, the group added a great richness and freshness to the exhibition.

Masoud, Paul and Howard installing The Homeless Library

Sing me to Sleep / Padainuok man labanakt is a British-Lithuanian project. People who are currently homeless or who have experienced homelessness, worked with artists from arthur+martha and Lithuanian Socialiniai meno projektai.  The projects explored the tangled forests of fairytale, childhood and their current life.

Sing me to Sleep, Lithuanian film.

Preparation of space at Bury Art Museum
Hanging of Sing me to Sleep

Sing me to Sleep, quilt and Lithuanian installation in foreground

We are delighted that Egle Gudonyte,  the lead artist in Lithuania brought to England a beautiful and thought provoking intervention to the gallery. The installation is just a fragment of the overall collaboration in “Sing me to Sleep”. In its modest scale, it connects the nature and human acts that can be found in both life, and fairy-tales: walking, confronting hunger, finding a shelter and the pursuit of happiness. 

Materials and instructions to build a house. Part of the Lithuanian installation
Materials and instructions to build a house. / PriemonÄ—s ir instrukcija, kaip pastatyti namÄ….

Instruction, thread, 4 match boxes, wooden plate, plastic bag. The instructions were written down by the project participant Rimga.  This house has never been built.

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