A Celebration of Market Gardening in Melbourne – Coming Soon!
EXPANDING HORIZONS – Anglo – Asian project supported by Arts Council England
In 2013 Melbourne Festival secured an Arts Council England Grant for the Arts supported by The Lottery Fund for a series of projects, under the umbrella of EXPANDING HORIZONS, intended to widen the horizons and bridge the distance between our community in Melbourne and more culturally diverse communities in Derbyshire and beyond. The project included commissioned work and a series of workshops with three main strands – a creative writing project where local people worked with local author Gregory Heath and Indian poet and storyteller Debjani Chatterjee MBE to come up with ideas to include in poems to be included in a poetry booklet , a creative arts project to involve local people in suggesting ideas for a Melbourne wall hanging (A Melbourne Sari) and helping make it and the third strand Bollywood dance leading to a flashmob at Melbourne Festival.
THE MELBOURNE SARI
Using traditional Indian sari designs as a starting point Jemma Rix and Gopa Nath from Surtal Arts introduced Melbourne people in Schools, community groups and other settings to explore traditional sari designs and colours and encouraging them to identify the colours and motifs which would best represent Melbourne in a sari design. Jemma Rix has pulled together the ideas from all of the groups she has worked with to make 6 x 36″ panels (a traditional sari measures 6 yards!) to put together to create our Sari.
The top of the Sari has a line from a poem by Debjani Chatterjee MBE “Saris hang on the washing line, a rainbow in our neighbourhood. This little orange one is mine, it has a mango in the design. I wear it as a rani would, it wraps around in the sunshine. It ripples silky down my spine and I stand tall and feel so good.
The cyanotype images on the blue stripe are based of photographs supplied by local people and the logo’s for some of the organistions which took part in our workshops.
The centre strip contains images taken from local architecture and plants grown in local market gardens. The borders above and below this strip show plants seen around Melbourne throughout the year holly, tulips, poppies, daisies and ivy.
When local children were asked what they thought best symbolised Melbourne they kept suggesting the geese, swans and ducks on Melbourne Pool. The bottom panel contains hundreds of ducks drawn by local children.
Finally, the pallu, the scarf like end which hangs from the shoulder, and bottom border feature handprints from all of the children at Melbourne Infant and Junior Schools.
TEA & POETRY –
The two writers, Gregory Heath and Debjani Chatterjee MBE, collaborated to write a series of poems on the theme of Expanding Horizons looking at the similarities between the South Asian community in Derby or India and our traditional Melbourne community. A recurring image in both communities is tea, so we decided to focus on creating poems about the similarities and differences between the cultures. The poems were published in September 2013 as Expanding Horizons poems on East-West Reflections … to enjoy with a nice cup of tea. Rather than have a formal “Poetry Reading” we staged a “Tea Trail” with our poets popping up to share a few of their poems written as part of the project with customers in all of the Tea Shops and pubs in the centre of Melbourne. Debjani and Greg also shared their poetry in the Food Court, Food Festival and Art Café during the 2013 Art & Architecture Trail.
BOLLYWOOD DANCE – Nisha Nath the choreographer for Derby Dance group JAVVANI is led a series of Bollywood Dance workshops with local children, young people and adults leading up to a Bollywood flashmob featuring ALL of our dancers on Saturday 14th September.
Nisha worked with everyone over a number of sessions with young people from Chellaston Academy, Melbourne Children at Melbourne Assembly Rooms and members of Melbourne and Breedon the Hill WI. She them coordinated the groups to link together to create an amazing piece seen by hundreds of people at Melbourne Festival.
SENIOR CITIZEN CENTRE COMMISSION
The first commission was unveiled at Melbourne Senior Citizens Community Centre during Melbourne Festival. Artists were asked to submit their ideas for the piece reflecting Melbourne and the areas beyond. The winning entry by Barbara Bagley is shown below.
The presentation of the Expanding Horizons Commission 2014 to members of Melbourne Senior Citizen Centre by artist Barbara Bagley, far right.