Jenny, one of our student volunteers, reflects on the fourth workshop, and the notion of ‘welcome’.
As a student reading History of Art, I scarcely find the opportunity to interact with others who are not students or lecturers! Hence by volunteering at this creative workshop was not only rather heartwarming and fun but also very inspiring.
The collaborative project between Faceless Arts (a community arts organisation) and TLANG (a research project from the University of Leeds) leads up to the major Utopia festival, being held later this year at Somerset House, London. It proposes to celebrate the iconic novel by Thomas More, published 500 years ago, whilst TLANG aims to investigate ‘what is the role of ‘welcome’ in contemporary Utopia?’.
After teaching us the art of silk painting, we were then asked to explore and depict the theme of ‘Welcome’, whilst getting to know more about each other. I particularly enjoyed talking to one of the participants. Daring to imagine the enormities he must have endured throughout his entire upbringing and adult life, I was suddenly in awe of how happy, composed and peaceful he and his daughter both seemed. To realise that so much of humanity’s key aim in life is to seek a peaceful environment, devoid of conflict and exclusion was undoubtedly humbling for me as this is all I have ever known.
In fact, all the workshop participants radiated a great sense of warmth and amiability which hugely inspired me after acknowledging what they have previously experienced and overcome. The silk painting turned out to be a very relaxing activity and allowed people to express their creativity as well as their identity. I particularly liked watching one of the children writing her name in sanskrit, seeing how intricate and artistic the letters were. Overall my conclusion from this experience was a realisation of the importance to promote a sense of welcome and community amongst all nationalities, races and cultures. I left fiercely aspiring to remember and cherish the intrinsic value of living in a safe and secure environment, surrounded by individuals one can trust and depend on.