A Manifesto For A New Wakefield is an Arts Council funded project conceived and delivered by Long Division. Working with thirteen Wakefield based artists across multiple mediums, the project seeks to celebrate the new and the local and in doing so explore a future for grassroots creativity in the city. The 13 pieces of work were debuted during Long Division Festival (beginning with Wakefield Artwalk) and will be compiled into a printed book alongside work and articles exploring Long Division’s wider vision that will lead into 2019s festival.
I submitted a joint proposal with Alexandra Vaughan, and ours was one of the 13 selected.
The piece will be on display from the 30th of May at The Art House – external wall on Mulberry Way, a 2.5×1.2m strip of etching.
(Click the images below to enlarge)
Are you becoming who you thought you were going to be?
A takeover of an empty wall in town, a long strip of etching. On it a landscape cross section of Wakefield, an artistic view travelling through its past, present, and future. An invitation for walkers-by to take stock and ask of themselves and of the city: Are you becoming who you thought you were going to be?
I thought it was a shame the colliery was closing. It looked so picturesque, (…) like windmills. George Bale, The Coalminers Diary, 1998
As an escape from the unending vistas of grimy pitheads, people could perhaps have imagined them as windmills. A way of softening the harsh landscape of the day as well as harkening back to a quieter (more romantic) era.
The ceaseless energy of the factory, an engine room hoisting another cage full of workers to their daily toil//Elegant, white, graceful energy efficient turbines, not moving a breath until nature stirred them//Sparks of coal for ignition//Blades running on a light breeze.
Did pitheads ever imagine they might have evolved from dirt digging machines into sleek contraptions of the air? Soaring on high with the gulls from sooty beginnings below? Able to capture and convert precious breaths of air into life-giving currents of electricity?
Life has a tendency to not follow plans, respect ideas or care much for goals. One day we wake up and realize that that teenager planning to travel the world was replaced by a middle-aged individual, caring for an elderly relative, or by a 20-something with an 8-year-old, or someone stricken by a disability. The sports centre is now in decay, abandoned, the swimming pool empty of the slightest drop of water. The pits closed and a whole way of life died away.
One day we wake up and the life that is has crept by without our awareness.
Are we becoming who we thought we were going to be?
With this work, we seek to invite people to become aware. Without judgement, to take notice of where they are in the present. As individuals, as a city. A little shake of consciences. Welcoming and embracing who they have become. Growing comfortably into their skin. Adjusting. Reframing for the future. Achieving their potential.