Chapeltown residents' tales brought to life
The 'Shelf Life' project began with a series of workshops, led by performance artist Gillian Dyson, in collaboration with Feel Good Factor on Louis Street, Chapeltown. The residents used personal objects and accumulated memorabilia from their homes to express personal stories, memories and sense of place. The group explored the idea of why we 'value' certain objects in our home.
The stories and experiences of local residents have formed the basis of a final performance and display of work by Gillian at East Street Arts' Union 105 space in Chapeltown on Saturday 5 April at 6pm. The performance takes 45 minutes and is free, with the objects remaining in the gallery to be viewed afterwards.
Gillian commented: "We wanted to explore how people can tell their stories and describe their sense of place through objects, such as souvenirs in their domestic environment. The women who got involved with the project were all over 50, and alongside Feel Good Factor, we agreed that reminiscence and reflection would be an attractive form of engaging the local community."
Two of the four women involved were from St.Kitts, one from Jamaica, and the other had spent significant time in Gibraltar. Some of the conversations were around their experiences as teenage immigrants in the late 1960s, and their first impressions of the streets of Leeds.
Gillian explained: "There was a reluctance amongst the group to be nostalgic about where they came from. Some of them said they cried for months about the cold weather when they first arrived. All they had brought with them were suitcases containing clothes and books."
Participants were asked to bring something from their home which they placed some memory or value on; a hundred year old Mother of Pearl dressing table mirror, fire heated antique hair straightening combs, and a childhood toy were some of the objects in discussion.
The performance is suitable for those aged 14 and over and places must be booked - please book online at www.shelflife-union105.eventbrite.co.uk or by contacting Lotte Shaw: firstname.lastname@example.org / 0113 262 6633.
The Shelf Life exhibition will be open at Union 105 from Tuesday 8 to Thursday 10 April, from 12pm to 6pm.