Acrylics on paper.
270cm x 30cm.
Not for sale.
I was invited to run a six week course by the Exeter Council for Voluntary Services at their newly opened crisis centre hub, CoLab. Working with a group of attendees who’s lives were troubled in various ways. The course brief was to help them arrive at a finished design that could then be implemented as a large scale mural on the security shutters of the large windows that ran the length of the building.
Over the six weeks, the students produced many ideas that expressed both the problems that they were facing, and their subsequent experiences and journey with the crisis centre and their amazing and caring staff. My role was to both support them creatively through this process, and to knit together their ideas into a cohesive design at the end. These designs are the result.
Due to the layout of the building and the way it would be approached, the design runs from right to left, with the largest starting panel covering the entrance doorway to the building, and the subsequent panels covering the windows of the building. The theme of the mural, which is echoed inside the building, and is pertinent to Exeter, was “A river”. Other than that, myself and the students had free reign.
So far, so good for our troubled characters, and as we reach the end panel, it could be assumed that they drifted off into a beautiful sunset to live happily ever after. Life, unfortunately, is not so cliché’d, and I wanted to leave this ending with ambiguity. Perhaps our characters let their baggage drift, while they walked ashore and ahead in their lives. Perhaps, even with as much help as could be mustered, they sank. I hope the former.
The finished design hanging on the walls of CoLab in Exeter. Unfortunately, with funding for the arts in decline, CoLab has not yet been able to secure the funding needed to implement the design onto the outside of the building. To scale it up to a size of approximately fifty metres would require funding of £10-12K. Any rich altruistic people out there?!