Lockdown in ‘Planet Caravan‘
During lockdown, the caravan has become a bit of everything.. a place to work, rest and protest. My office and studio, my little boy‘s painting space. A place to chill, eat and chat, a listening space, a writing place, somewhere to record what happens when the world pauses. A place to connect with people and nature and to be part of a movement pushing for change in the world.
I am using the caravan as a communication hub to connect with people experiencing a hard lockdown through stress, isolation, marginalisation and lack of access to support or resources. I’ve been helping set up a radio show made by older Lewisham residents and creating postcards I’ll send to NHS workers, local refugee families and homeless communities. Sending postcards is a familiar and friendly gesture, capturing a paused moment in time and space, inviting others to connect through the slow medium of the post. The postcards have been inspired by music and the thoughts shared with me by others, messages of positivity and hope as well as words of provocation and protest
A video journal of my time in lockdown can be seen as part of Brockley Open Studios Virtual Gallery 2020 which launches on Saturday 4th July!
The Great Escape: Age Against the Machine Festival, Aug – Sep 2019
Last summer was a busy one. As part of Lewisham’s first Festival of Creative Ageing I embarked on two mini ‘camping’ trips into the wilds of London with 10 Lewisham based elders from the Albany’s over 60s club, Meet Me. We parked up under the beautiful trees in Greenwich Park for the day enjoying food, games, songs, a park tour, movement sessions and more. Accompanying us on each trip were volunteers and an artist, who came along to lead a holiday themed activity and take our ‘holiday portrait‘. In September our holiday memories were brought back to the heart of Deptford as part of the festival’s outdoor trail, with soundscapes and projections from each trip installed within the caravan for the public to experience.
Thanks to our Great Escapees, Merlin Hayward, Lakeisha Lynch Stevens, The Albany Theatre & Arts Centre, Entelechy Arts, Greenwich Park Revealed & all other staff, teams and funders at the Age at the Machine festival, it was so much fun to be part of it!
Brockley Open Studios: Hillyfields festival, June 2019
I collaborated with Brockley Open Studios at Hilly Fields Fayre in June. This local not for profit organisation has been going for 25 years and is all about opening doors, and building on the creative community that thrives in the quiet streets of SE4 and SE14.
The event fell on Windrush Day and Refugee Week, with its 2019 theme ‘you, me and those who came before’. At the caravan we invited people to map a significant journey they’ve made or their parents and grandparents before them. The stories people shared were fascinating, heartwarming and often harrowing.
Room with a view: Telegraph Hill Festival, April 2019
An immersive, subversive installation that played on attitudes towards migration in the complicated times of post-referendum Britain.
For this event, the caravan was transformed into a bird shelter; with nesting eagles, hummingbirds, swan bills, ospreys and other bird life from around the world streamed live through each window via a series of wildlife webcams.
Other parts of the installation gave a creative voice to refugees from AFRIL’s Helping Hands foodbank in Lewisham.
all webcams we’re sourced from explore.org
Open Space: Brockley Open Studios, April 2018
A participatory installation that ‘opened up’ and cheered up space for guests
For this project I worked with Brockley Open Studios local schools and a women’s refugee group to explore local spaces that were inviting or hostile. Through the process we created a collective kalaidescopic artwork from coloured gravel that combined the British garden path with the Hindi concept of Rangoli – a welcoming ritual. People were invited to contribute to this throughout the day.
For the people: Croft Fest, June 2018
For Croft Fest the interior of the caravan become a miniature Zen Garden with works by Brockley based artist Kaori Homma. Origami making took place at the table outside.
Home from Home: Telegraph Hill Festival, May 2017
The caravan appeared three times at the festival over the course of a week with a photographic installation, which saw the caravan wallpapered in local resident’s objects; a live music event with songs from the road performed by candlelight and screenings of animations by child refugees in Calais. Through these events I aimed to explore the idea of home through notions of comfort & freedom, displacement & refuge. This was a collaborative project with works provided by Art Refuge UK & Cafe Art.
CARAVAN ARTS works with artists, local communities & places to create temporary, site specific & immersive works within & around the 13ft space of the vintage van.
For more information contact Sarah on firstname.lastname@example.org