Residents at two St Helens housing schemes have been sharing gestures and getting to know each other.
This summer artist Sheila Ghelani has worked with the residents of Helena Partnership scheme, Parr Mount Court and Heald Farm Court.
Participants were invited to take part and with a bit of singing, craft and inspiration numbers grew weekly. Neighbours explored the thresholds and boundaries that exist in their communities.
Ghelani is an interdisciplinary artist working in performance, installation, participatory event and moving image. She has been helping the participants create out-of-the-ordinary gestures, creating a stir that reaches out to their community and invites others to step over the thresholds within the scheme.
There has been bunch of flowers, bracelets, photographs and finally 260 tea cups.
Shelia Ghelani, explained: “The project is nearly at an end. The final artistic outcomes are both in production and all that remains is for me to deliver them to participants when they’re ready, in a kind of mass gifting event. I say mass gifting as one of the outcomes will hopefully be a fine bone china teacup which every resident in each housing scheme will receive.”
“The project has been surprising. But all projects are I certainly didn’t expect to be making designs for teacups and I’m sure the residents didn’t either.”
“There have been lots of highlights throughout the project. A particularly enjoyable moment was conducting some home visits – so taking the art to residents in their own homes, those who weren’t able to attend the weekly sessions in the main common room of each scheme.”
“Another highlight was bringing some of the residents of the two housing schemes together in a final mid-morning party. They really enjoyed meeting each other! I’m also hoping the final artworks will be a highlight too.”
“I also loved the assembling and delivering of flowers in the very first session. It caused an exciting stir in both scheme. I also had a great research visit to the St Helens archives, let’s just say there were lots of highlights.
“The final artistic outcomes of the project are a teacup with a pattern on it designed by myself/residents and a set of 3 posters featuring photos of the residents revealing a small piece of info about themselves in front of what can only be described as a kitsch backdrop.
“Each scheme will get a framed set of the images to hang somewhere. Of course, there were lots of other outcomes from week to week – deep conversation over different types of making, gestures of good will and invites sent out to those not present, music, cake, gifts etc.”