Belonging was exhibited at Westquay Shopping Centre on Thursday 17 – Sunday 20 December 2020.
Southampton residents aged 3 – 87 contributed to this multi-arts project through following YouTube tutorials. Responses to Belonging have been captured in the form of songs, music, stories, poems, recipes, paper-boats, drawings, colour, and sound.
Walking through the installation, visitors were immersed in a site of Belonging, surrounded by long, tall, banners hanging from the ceiling. The banners featured beautiful, intricate drawings carefully printed on colourful fabric which hung down the walls and from the central gazebo that visitors walked around. There were also streamers of paper boats, postcards, poems, recipes and stories linked together, hanging all along the walls that visitors stopped to read.
“A Brilliant exhibition which raises important questions about belonging and how we can all help each other feel welcomed, safe and at home, no matter our country of Birth. The message of inclusivity is especially important at this present time. There is some amazing work, both in words and imagery. Thank you.”
“Such a beautiful collection of art & writing -thank you! Was a lovely break from the stressful shops. Found it very moving.”
Visitors enjoying the installation
The team behind the installation
“Lovely Exhibition. Loved the fabrics with different drawings. Is amazing how many people and kids got involved. Thank you.”
Belonging – Our interpretation of the Mayflower story
The Mayflower story began with the epic voyage of the pilgrims, in search of the New World and finding their site of belonging. It is a story of persecution, hope and challenges they encountered as they negotiated a new regrouping of communities to call it home.
You can participate in the project in various ways. Through music, storytelling, and craftwork. These will be captured in the form of song, music, words, poems, craft, colour, and sound into a multi-sensory art installation that represents a home or a site of belonging. Watch the videos below and download the PDFs for more on how to get involved!
Would you like to see your creation, songs and stories in an installation in West Quay? You can submit your entries via email to email@example.com, arrange a collection from your community group or drop them to either Woolston, Bitterne, Shirley or Southampton Central Library.
Drawing on aspects of the Mayflower story, Belonging, recreates a contemporary artistic version which is a play between the real and imagined, the local and universal, the specific and abstract. It is a story about somebody leaving their home to find a new life in an unseen country, where even the most basic details of ordinary life including language are strange, confronting, or confusing. It is a story of migration, a natural phenomenon. Since the earliest times, mankind has been on the move. Fear of migration is, therefore, an unnatural human reaction. And yet this feeling is very real, creating tensions and suspicion in host countries. We live in a world where people migrate by choice or because they are forced to flee for safety. Moving across countries, changing nationalities, seeking to belong and be part of a better and fairer world. Belonging is the retelling of stories of individuals and communities who have made Southampton their home and a place where they feel they belong.
The project seeks to encourage participants to use their imagination and lived experiences as a fertile ground to explore the emotional landscapes associated with the travellers, both at the individual and collective level, and what it takes to create a New World, a site of belonging. This in turn, equips them better, with deeper sensitivity and humanity to create a community that values understanding, equality, democracy, and generosity of spirit.
This art installation will be presented in a public space. All those who participated in the making of this installation will be invited to view how their little contribution has a vital place within the making of a bigger home – thus demonstrating the power of the individual to play a vital role in creating a harmonious society, something bigger than themselves. This public event will also host a craft and a ‘values provocation’ session that will shine light on the underpinning values of this project, equally opening the public to contribute to the installation in the form of craft. This is again a symbolic way of welcoming newcomers to become part of your home, or community.
You can find further information on the project and examples of how you, your community or your school can be involved on www.artasia.org.uk or firstname.lastname@example.org We will be following all government directives on social distancing and all participatory programmes will reflect the current regulations.