On Monday 5th June, to celebrate the culmination of our successful Near Neighbours project, we held a Celebration Event in our café. The stunning A1 prints were hung in the exhibition space on the café wall; when the participants arrived, they and their guests were very impressed. Everyone involved in the project, myself included, were so proud of the artwork we made together and we were excited to share it with more people.
The event included speeches from the participants and local visual artist Cat Scott. Silvia de’Michelis, representative from Soka Gakkai International, and Mr Ladd, a member of Anand Milan Centre, joined Cat to discuss the process of making the artwork. They discussed the significance of key motifs and the importance of colour. If you would like to know more about how the prints were made, the significance of colour and symbolism and how the participants faith’s influenced their art please read about it here. The collaborative process of producing the prints was very important – both representatives spoke of how they found they had far more in common than they initially realised, and that discovering their shared beliefs brought the groups closer together. Creating the prints not only helped the participants to appreciate each other’s faiths and how similar they are, but also led to new friendships. While Cat expressed how valuable leading the workshops had been for her – the Near Neighbours print workshops were her first experience of working as lead facilitator on a participation project.
We also enjoyed beautiful performances by Avtar Lota on Dilruba, accompanied by Inder Goldfinger on Tabla. The duo performed classical compositions; their reflective and harmonious tones perfectly complimented the artwork on the walls above them.
We ended the evening with a fantastic vegetarian and vegan buffet.
The Near Neighbours prints were exhibited throughout June and were enjoyed by the many visitors to our café.
Feedback from all participants was extremely positive. For some this was the first time they had the opportunity to be creative since they were in school, and enjoyed our printmaking workshops enormously. For others it was their first experience of any inter-faith activities – a project like this one not only gives participants a chance to learn about and appreciate others’ faiths, but to share and celebrate their own faith too. Everyone involved in the project, from both the partner organisations and here at Kala Sangam, are very enthusiastic about continuing our new relationship. We are excited about the possibility of developing and extending this work with Anand Milan Centre and SGI – watch this space!
Education and Outreach Officer