Exhibition Review: The World, My Birthplace
The Amber Ray Project runs a family learning and well-being program in the Priory Court Community Centre. In cooperation with locally-based artist Dino Palmisano, the Amber Ray Project helped several Waltham Forest children (aided by their families) to create self-portrait tapestries. The entire process is outlined in the small but lovely exhibit at the Winns Gallery in Lloyd Park. (It's in the same building as the cafe–did you know there was a gallery back there? I didn't.)
The kids first created self-portraits, which were transferred to acetate, enlarged via a projector, and then traced onto fabric to be embroidered. Aside from putting the work onto acetate and finishing the tapestries to be hung (some machine sewing and fixing grommets), all of the work was done cooperatively by the children and their families.
The organiser, Sonia, was on hand in the gallery and eager to speak to me about the kids' work, and how they opened up through the process of creation. Each student was required to do some research on their heritage, and incorporate their findings into the tapestry. But the kids' origins showed through more subtly.
Sonya showed me the differing stitching styles that seem to be regional–a swirling style was favoured by the children with Afghani origins, and a column-based style seemed to be common between Romanian and Polish families, for example.
It was great to see the photos of the creation process–this exhibit is clearly as much about the process as the final product. And I love the silliness on this little guy's face! It's clear that Amber Ray has succeeded in connecting with Ilyas.
I only wish this exhibition was up for longer. It's only open until December 15, this Sunday, so head over and take a look while you have the chance!