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Working with local people to select great visual arts for Hounslow

Author: Daisy McMullan

I’m Daisy, the Visual Arts Producer for CPP Hounslow, Watermans’ major outreach programme in the borough of Hounslow.

I work with an Exhibitions Group, which includes a group of local people and library staff, supporting them to curate a programme of exhibitions and events in Hounslow’s Libraries and a network of Community Café Galleries.

Our aim is to support new spaces to show original and contemporary Visual Arts in Hounslow, with the community in the driving seat, and CPP Hounslow staff like myself to support and bring ideas to fruition.

Since our venues have mostly been closed during lockdown, we have put all our content online on this website, so you can now see our exhibitions, attend our events and join in with activities to try at home. We’re even holding our curatorial panel meetings online so our programme is in continuous development, with plans underway for our 2021 exhibitions already.

Our exhibitions are really varied, covering all sorts of themes and topics, designed to challenge, surprise and inspire our local communities. We have worked with world renowned dance company Akademi on an exhibition of photographs documenting their amazing production The Troth. We have also worked with artists who are locally based, including Rehmat Rayatt on an exhibition titled Music and Me, a series of photographic portraits of Hounslow musicians, and Gerald Curtis on an exhibition of painting titled Regeneration on Hounslow Heath.

The Troth exhibition at Cranford Library © Cristina Schek

A project I particularly liked was one where we engaged local people in The Memory Library with Marie Klimis. The Memory Library features stories from members of the community about their personal experiences of living in Hounslow over the decades, as well as a series of works by illustrator Aleesha Nandhra called Neighbourhood Tastes exploring food and culture.

Detail from The Memory Library exhibition at Heston Library © Cristina Schek

We also have some exciting projects in development that will launch later in 2020, including Animal Stories an exhibition of new historical stories about animals in the borough of Hounslow, researched by Alistair Cartwright and brought to life through stop motion animation by Amber Cooper Davies, artists chosen by the local curatorial group. We’re also working with local illustrator Laura Edralin, on a project called Hounslow’s Hidden Heroes, celebrating the extraordinary people who live and work in the community.

Music And Me exhibition at Hanworth Library © Cristina Schek

During the Lockdown, we’ve focussed more of our work on the impact of Covid-19, and we are working in collaboration with University of West London BA (Hons) Photography students on an online exhibition titled HOME, and a project called How do we Adapt? looking at creative ways people are adapting their usual activities when they can’t do what they would normally.

There are also public events (currently online) to accompany our exhibition programme. You can watch extracts of our recent Meet the Artist events HERE.

We’ll be holding more events soon, so keep an eye out for what’s coming up!

Lastly, there are lots of ways to get involved with the Visual Arts Programme, from our activities to do at home, to sending in your suggestions for exhibitions, or even joining the curatorial panel. So please do visit the Join In section of the website, and enjoy!

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