St Monica’s RC Primary School

Dolphin Loves Disco (and other favourite words)

11 to 21 July 2012

To mark the second year of PEER’s participatory projects devised and led by artist Maria Amidu at St Monica’s RC Primary School, we are delighted to present Dolphin Loves Disco (and other favourite words).

This showcase exhibition explores the relationship between language and art making. Teasing out a number of concerns from her own practice, Amidu’s ambitions for the project were to encourage and foster collaborative working among pupils across age groups, and to reveal how speaking, listening, reading and writing are vehicles for self-expression and creativity in both graphic and sonic forms. The title of the show – chosen by the pupils as some of their favourite words – is an appropriately playful demonstration of the power of words.

Maria Amidu has written of this project, “I devised a number of weekly workshops for the children in the After School Club, which allowed us to experiment with ways to turn words into art. Using themselves as the subject matter the children produced a number of textual artworks, which describe their lives and interests in dynamic ways.

We started with the question ‘where do we keep our ideas?’ and made note/sketch/ideas/secret-books. Then went on to do a number of things including: considering how we use words when looking at visual art; making envelopes and writing letters to our future selves; using a number of typographic apparatus to make sentences; and making our own ‘St. Monica’s hieroglyphics’ to write in codes. We ended with making this final, large-scale wall piece – Dolphin Loves Disco, which is based on our favourite words and own handwriting.

In the course of the project we looked at, talked and wrote about the work of Anna Barriball, Joseph Cornell, Charles & Ray Eames, Robert Holyhead, Rachel Lowe, Christina Mackie, Selma Makela, and Bob & Roberta Smith.

The workshops with St Monica’s pupils and resulting showcase form part of PEER’s participation programme. Other elements of the Participate programme include a project led by artist Emma Hart with teaching staff at the Bridge Academy, a commission with artist Dustin O’Hara in collaboration with local residents and the Access All Areas theatre group as part of the Shoreditch Festival and a range of other activities with a number of other community organisations.

PEER Participate is supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation