Creative Junction worked as a creative producer for Xtra Art, a Slough based young artist collective, curating mixed media 2D and 3D art work and film. A successful application to Arts Council England Grants for the Arts enabled six emerging Slough based artists to hold their debut exhibition ‘juxtaposition‘ in the Hoxton Basement in London. The exhibition was such an important element as it gave authenticity to their work as artists – it professionalised their work and had a positive impact on their and others perceptions. Xtra Art also delivered a series of workshops for children, young people, families and students to respond to their work.
This was followed by a creative showcase of their and other Slough young people’s work – including spoken word, film, music and singing – in response to objects from the collection at Slough Museum.
Juxtaposition /ˌdʒʌk.stə.pəˈzɪʃ.ən/To place side by side or close together; especially so as to produce or exhibit a contrasting effect; the act of the state of being juxtaposed…
The choice of a broad but compelling ‘Juxtaposition’ theme allowed each artist to apply their imagination, ideas and interpretation to their individual pieces, at the same time as allowing for the collective work to be viewed as a whole. The exhibition is itself juxtaposition – a contrast for these artists of:
Artistic freedom v academic study; the contrast between society; school; parent; self expectations for exam results & achievements versus the desire for self expression, not conforming, breaking/making the rules.
Adult v Child; the contrast between being ready for ‘grown up’ life; able to legally go to war, get married, drive vehicles versus the (necessary?) negation by funders, supporters and others in the sector to recognise them as independent artists or creators; still classing them as ‘vulnerable people’.
Autonomy v Advice; the contrast between striving for independence, being encouraged/made to work things out for themselves versus inexperience that can only be overturned with real experience; and (like us all?) being reluctant to ask for help, advice, guidance and admit we ‘don’t know what we don’t know’.
Prianka Bassi juxtaposes science and art through complex hand drawings to create interpretations of bacteria, fungi and cell studies using the reoccurring juxtaposition of black and white.
January Gernale juxtaposes the balance of life and death, good and evil, light and dark through photography with references to lyrics and poetry to produce work that explores extremes.
Rickey Grewal juxtaposes our extroverted selves with our introverted feelings, the persona we display to society is different from who we are inside.
Ria Walia juxtaposes different time periods within history, looking at fashion and cultural aspects of garments to inspire her textile pieces. She also juxtaposes nature and man through contrasting algae and plastic.
Shiok Yeung Chen juxtaposes the real and the surreal through fine art. Her pieces focus on how time affects our realities and surreal worlds, mainly focusing on the juxtaposition of life and death. Symmetry is also incorporated as a symbolism of time, since time itself cannot be juxtaposed. Time is independent and cannot be contained or controlled.
Yinan Zhao juxtaposes high class fashion with the use of disposable materials, such as newspaper and toilet paper through paper sculpture, folding and traditional origami techniques.
The whole project focused on the leadership of these young people. The young people were empowered to take complete ownership of the project – from the marketing and promotion, to the finance and logistics, to the set up of the exhibition to planning and leading the workshops. Xtra Art artists were actively involved in National Takeover Day led a presentation on Arts Award Gold at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford as part of Artswork, South East Bridge’s Arts Award Leadership Network. Xtra Art artists are also contributing to Artswork consultation around Arts Award Open Centres and how young leaders can support other young people in achieving Arts Award. Creative Junction supported all young people involved to work towards Arts Award, including at Gold level – this framework has given great scope for personal progression, enabling young people to take leadership roles and improve their communication skills. They have also been connected to established artists and local arts and community organisations and a business mentor to determine their individual and collective progression routes. This project has strongly developed the young people’s sense of belonging in and through the Xtra Art collective, giving opportunities to work together to achieve shared goals and dreams.