This week’s blog is from Artist & Illustrator Rosemary Cunningham.  Rosemary is working with our Artistic Director Victoria Beesley to create a statue with young carers from Glasgow South West Carers Centre. 

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Six weeks isn’t a long time to create a new statue for Glasgow, especially with young people who have so many ideas and energy! Every session begins with drama exercises which Vickie leads, it warms everyone up and breaks down some of the shyness we begin with each week.

The whole process of the statue grew from the idea of heroes. Who are they? What do they look like? What are the things that make them special? In week one we built our own heroes from paper. In week two we began to identify certain traits that we wanted our own statue to have:

Powerful

Love

Safe

Interactive

Fun

Inspirational

Unique

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Using mind mapping to eke out initial thoughts and ideas, we used drawing as a way of communicating ideas and concepts and certain themes began to emerge; heart shapes, stars, pets, nature, hugging arms. A major turning point was the idea that everyone is a hero in their own way, so the statue has to be for everyone. We played with enjoyably messy materials like bouncy foam, using it to make large scale silly models that were fun to play with. Our job became trying to work out how to encourage people to empathise with us and interact with our heroic words – so it became an igloo (unique in Glasgow)! Outside, a hard shell for protection (powerful and safe) and inside, a soft, (fun) bouncy world with activities and diversions (interactive, inspirational). The idea is that anyone inside the cocoon is escaping the stressful world and getting a virtual hug from the interior (love).

By week 5 we were making our own igloo structures from card and decorating them to fit our needs. By amalgamating the ideas that emerged – which were already converging – our cocoon was beginning to take shape. It will be an eight-sided natural wood structure with a sunshine roof, with cushions, grass and a space to explore and feel rested inside. In this last week I have been trying to make the structure itself so that I can bring it to them for decorating and final ideas. I’m so excited that it’s taken shape so quickly and clearly for them and I’m keen that the final outcome is as much their work as possible. Using birch plywood – and getting in some extra design help from Hamish Bigg – we’re cutting the wood and hopefully it will slot together easily and it can stand up as a hero for anyone feeling stressed.

Rosemary

As I See It: Missing Statues culminates with a special event at South Block on Saturday 17th June where the statues will be unveiled. They will then be exhibited at South Block from 19th – 23rd June. For more info visit the Facebook event page.

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