27 January 2020

Colours in the Pattern: John Street Mural. LLAWN 2019

The Colours in the Pattern Mural project formed part of the Llawn 2019, the annual multi arts festival taking place in North Wales. Curatorial theme was a Line in the Sand devised by Megan Broadmeadow and the Mural Trail was curated by Francesca Colussi. The brief indicated a pathway of "site/place responsive project where artists will be invited to create new artworks on outdoor walls, playing with the distinctive palette of Llandudno and subtly referring to the architectonical details of the town in their geometrical patterned artworks".

The walls of James Payne builders merchant in John Street was identified for my work and following site visit and Mostyn Estate approved Crown Pastel colour palette range approved colours, a series of studio based studies was started. Firstly a drawing design that would accompany exiting wall features and condition, then three options of colour interaction. Existing recesses (window and door features) were pre-painted black (dark grey).


Version 3 gouache study and above digital sketch

Version 1 gouache study and above digital sketch

Version 2 gouache study and above digital sketch

For the implantation of the project we had the three days of the festival plus two prior days to implement the complete design. I wanted to cover two coats of paint and this was achieved to deadline, although the surface of the wall was extremely hard to hand paint. I found one of the colours I had chosen was actually close to the existing wall (part of the design...elements of the design would float isolated on the wall hue) and an additional grey blue was used.

Final- left section

Final- centre section

Final- right section

The work references observed architectural details around the town, reconfigured in a horizontal design that intends to move from left to right. The high triangle points the way; pictorially echoing perhaps Delacriox's Liberty. The square centre element revolves anti-clockwise and is inspired by Faith Ringold's visual language series that in turn references textile work in the Karun Thakar Collection (Africa). Overall the wall painting seeks to reference the Line in the Sand theme of Llawn and have a transitory wind swept feel in the shapes that float as if projected along the wall..

LLawn festival bike tours during the weekend and as work was being made

14 December 2019

Artist Point 2019 International Residency, Meghalaya, North East India

Jingkieng opening at Mawkyrwat featuring Lum Symper 2019 acrylic on canvas

Artist Point International Residency took place in October at Jakrem, near Mawkyrwat about two hours from the state capital Shillong. Located in the Khasi Hills at the Hot Spring Resort Jakrem, the residency offered an unparalleled opportunity to engage with the culture and outstanding natural environment of the region. Fellow AiR included Cristina Megia (Spain); Christophe Riva (Japan/France) Jana Bednarova (Slovakia - curator and organiser); Imtiaj Islam Rasel (Bangladesh); Thlana Bazik (Mizoram) with Alakesh Dutta (Assam - organiser). 
Alakesh Dutta with Cristina Megia, about to start work on wall painting at Sawsymper
Fellow AiR Imtiaj Islam Rasel and Christophe Riva near Mawkyrwat

Fellow AiR Thlana Bazik near Mawkyrwat

Community engagement was very high on this residency with wall painting workshops with schools; skill building painting day with young adults. The residency concluded with the presentation in Mawkyrwat DC Public building. Entitled Jingkieng (in Khasi meaning bridges) the project is designed to bring a rural community into direct contact with contemporary painters.

AiR team mix paint at Hope Children Home Mawlangwir
Wah umkhluit (river flow) on cover Jingkieng brochure

Visitors view Mawkyduk at JingKieng Opening

Wearing face masks at Mawkyduk stone circle

Sawsymper wall painting project in progress

Full contextual photos of engagement and visits can be seen here.

My interest in India has developed with conversations with artists from India and a desire to engage with the culture, environment and social condition. Colour is the overarching thematic concern of my practice and the rich pigment colours and natural light are subjects I am drawn to in the context of the Khasi culture and wider India.

My methodology of working on location is defined as creating ‘scapes’ (involving multiple facets of a subject) evolved through both exploratory studies and in the production of a definitive project portfolio (for exhibition or presentation). The new approach to thinking is defined by the response to Place: how different cultures perceive visual themes, particularly colour. My interest is broad and includes ecological, geopolitical and cultural indicators of Place.

In approaching the new landscape around Mawkyrwat, sensory and perceptive observation facilitated an exploration of Camel acrylic paints. The vibrancy and range of hue introduced, for example, Indian Yellow, a rich Sapphire colour. My current interest in Place and colour is part of an ongoing project, looking at the way location and culture can develop the language of painting. New work is defined as ‘scapes’, works that are responsive to multiple influence both through actual production on site and also reflective painting in the studio. With this new work, aspects of landscape, experienced by moving over and around the territory (as opposed to merely looking at it) created a dynamic enthusiasm for making new paintings.   

Earlier stage of Mawkyduk

Mawkyduk 2019 acrylic on canvas 75 x 100cm Collection Picasso Pupils

Earlier stage of Lum Symper

Lum Symper 2019 acrylic on canvas 75 x 100cm Collection Picasso Pupils

On reflection, the paintings had a lot to do with being close to the river at Jakrem. I was aware of the sound of the river constantly whilst working outside..The flow of the river (I walked down most days to sit near it) and the sound permeated the imagery...I like to now think of these as the sound of colour...

Earlier stage of Wah umkhluit (river flow)

Wah umkhluit (river flow) 2019 acrylic on canvas 75 x 100cm Collection Picasso Pupils

1. How was the experience in Mawkyrwat?
Artists Point was very positive in a number of ways. Firstly the natural environment and location was visually inspiring with rolling plateau hills covered with forest. Natural is an important description because the vastness and untouched character was striking. Secondly, the interaction with other artists was highly rewarding as contrasting practice raised interesting discussion. Thirdly there was good balance of time to allow the development of some new experimental work.

Wah umkhluit Jakrem

2. How was interacting and teaching the children like?
The children were highly motivated and engaged in the new experiences of using art materials and making images collectively and individually. They handled the tasks well and were enthusiastic for achieving a result.

Sawsymper S.Fernando Secondary School

3. What did you learn about the place and people?
I learnt that the Khasi languages the main spoken tongue and Khasi identity includes formal dress, music and dance. The khasi alphabet was introduced by Welsh missionaries and the patriarchal song has the same melody as the Welsh national anthem. On visiting Sohra, the first chapel of 1840 established by Welsh presbyterian missionaries includes Thomas Jones for whom there is a holiday dedicated on 27th June. The Khasi / Wales exchange is current in music particularly and it was a pleasure to learn about connections and exchange cultural contexts.

Presybyterian Church Cherapungee

The people were very friendly and inquisitive. There is a strong sense of community with school and church at the centre of society. People seemed close to the land and live practical lives using the natural resources for daily living.

4. After being in Meghalaya for quite sometime, what is your experience?
I would have liked to have stayed longer. There was a sense for me of readjusting to a different pace of life.

5. Meghalaya is a natural beauty. What has to be done to preserve the beauty?
It seems local government is protecting the environment from development for either mining or quarry work on any large scale. Tourism seems in the hands of the local community. Plastic waste is an issue along water courses.

Near Cherapungee

6. Is Meghalaya an artist's paradise?
I am bemused by the concept. Not really sure what an artists’ paradise is or whether I would want to be in one !

Wahumlwai Falls

Wei Sawdong Falls

 The residency concluded and I moved onto to Shillong for three days before departing for Kolkata..