Hand Earth Gesture Return - Pangaea Sculptors' Centre

By lucy, April 10, 2022

 

Hand Earth Gesture Return

Sustainable Public Art
for Coventry and Warwickshire

2021-2022

 

Become part of this new, ground-breaking public art installation. Grown and sculpted by hand from the earth, it will be created and eroded in public in the summer of 2022. Join making workshops, experience performances and visit this spectacular temporary installation.

 

 

 

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Lead Artists
Rachael Champion
Dolon Kundu
Amy & Oliver Thomas-Irvine
Jim Woodall

 

Collaborating Drummers
Parmjeet Bamrah
Anabell Febles
Mahandra Patel
Abraham Paddy Tetteh
Luke Weaver

 

Supporters

We’d like to acknowledge and thank all our supporters to date, including the National Lottery and the People’s Postcode Lottery players.

 

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 Cov council logo for web

 

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Partners

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Early draft design proposal for Coventry Canal Basin; courtesy of the HEGR artists.

As the production and origins of goods become increasingly complex and remote, this programme addresses a wish to return to our roots and participate in the making of things. Hand Earth Gesture Return is made from earth, straw and water – natural, locally grown, sourced and sustainable materials. It has been designed, and made for, and with, communities in Coventry and Warwickshire. We are bringing the materials to different community groups to be handled, modelled and manipulated. They will work alongside collaborating artists based in the UK and India to create this project. The design reconnects us to our physical world and, through shared material understanding, explores existing connections between cultures.

This is a new approach to public art that turns the creation and erosion process into a series of performative events that the public can witness or participate in. From the growing and harvesting of a field of Atle Spring wheat, turning the grain into flour and using the long-stem straw for the installation, to the extraction and processing of clay, there are opportunities for people to handle materials, get making and participate in the full material lifecycle and transformation process. In this way we hope to create a greater connection to, and understanding of, our material environment and culture, embedding ecology, art and sustainability into people’s experience of art and their city.

The development of Hand Earth Gesture Return is publicly manifesting as chapters across different media (film, photography, sculpture, performance, installation, events) over the course of a year. Through this approach we share the development and evolution, across time and space, of this ambitious, world-class public art project; from an idea forming through local, national and international collaboration and responding to stimuli. You’ll get to see what usually goes on behind the scenes and in artists’ studios as the artwork is made in public over time. Join making workshops and performances, visit temporary installations and follow the story of transformation online.

_DSC5054Kumartuli artisans, in Kolkata, building the armatures for clay idols for Durga Puja; International Changemakers British Council / Coventry City of Culture Research trip, 2020

The Story so Far: A Shared Material Heritage

 

Five artists based in the UK and India have been invited to work with the people of Coventry and Warwickshire to develop and create this temporary public sculpture. It is inspired by the use of earth, water and straw around the world, from British cob and thatching, via Egyptian mudbrick, Latin American quincha, African rammed earth – and Kolkata’s Durga Puja Hindu Festival. The artwork reveals the shared cultural heritage of our diverse local community by exploring our cross-cultural connections to these materials; their uses, rituals, harvest, extraction, lifecycle and transformation.

Since March 2020 curators Nandita Palchoudhuri (IN) and Lucy Tomlins (UK), alongside the artists, have been working with local community groups, national and international collaborators and supporters to develop this. Taking us from Coventry to Kolkata and back, the design is a product of diverse inputs and influences, from people, places, cities and nature.

 

Lead Artists

Rachael Champion (USA/UK)
Dolon Kundu (IN)
Amy & Oliver Thomas-Irvine (UK)
Jim Woodall (UK)

 

An Artwork Experienced in Chapters

Exposition / Prologue – R&D, community consultation, design proposal, planting.

Chapter 1: The Seed – A short film documenting an improvised collaborative drumming journey that took place before the July wheat harvest in Hatton, Warwickshire.

Chapter 2: The Rick – temporary thatched rick of straw in our Hatton wheat field, marking the end of the summer’s harvest.

Chapter 3: The Hairy Barge – Processioning the materials to the communities that will use them.

Current…
Chapter 4: The Build – Creating the sculptures with the public.

Coming next…
Chapter 5: Gesture – Sculpture at the Coventry Canal Basin; a ritual with drummers assembling and creating the sculptures together, in public; and the erosion of the sculptures over a period of a week.

Chapter 6: Return – Recycling and returning the materials to source or the community.

 

Hand Gestures: A Common Language Without Words

“As primary instruments of the creative, the hands of the homo-faber imitate the mythic shaping of matter into discriminated being by deities who chisel, mold, sculpt, weave and forge creation. Hands signify the sovereign, word- creating reach of consciousness; they embody effectiveness, industry, adaption, invention, self-expression and the possession of a will for creative and destructive ends.”
[The Book of Symbols]

 

2ea32c90-385b-49ea-b200-e94071274a32Creative research; courtesy of HEGR artists.

The clay and straw sculptures, to be built and publicly eroded, foreground the hand – it’s form, actions and gestures – as a way to make deeper connections between people, place and matter. Hands are a universal and personal symbol, which convey meaning that penetrate barriers including gender, age or race. More>

Erosion: Sustainable Re-Use of Materials and an Entire Life Cycle Made Tangible

Taking inspiration from the cyclical use of clay and straw by the Kumartuli idol makers of Kolkata, within this temporary installation the sculptures made from clay and straw will be allowed to break down and erode, with water, the clay skin breaking apart to reveal their inner-workings before their inevitable collapse.

Submerged clay idols BengalInspiration has been taken from the submerged clay idols, Bengal.

At the end of the exhibition period, all excess materials will be be reused, recycled and returned to the supply chain or nature. This will complete the life cycle of the programme, and begin the next.

How,To,Mixing,Earthen,Brick,Ingredients.

Current Events

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Tuesday 15 March – Sunday 22 May | Hand Earth Gesture Return Exhibition
Leamington Art Gallery and Museum, CV32 4AA

An exhibition charting the development of the programme, in relation to the local community, cultural heritage and place.

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Chapter 4: The Build****CURRENTLY RUNNING

Running until July, there are a number of ways to get involved with creating these sculptures. Get in touch: admin@pangaeasculptorscentre.com.

Clay Flower Workshops led by Zoe Petrie
Sat 14 May 10-12 pm
GNP Gurdwara, Coventry
Sat 4 June Broad Street Community Centre, Coventry
Every Monday night in June 6.30-8.30pm Monday Night Makers, Imagineer Productions, Daimler Powerhouse, Coventry, CV1 4DQ

Architectural Fragments Making
29 April: 3-day workshop for Coventry University Students led by Rachael Champion and Jim Woodall.
8 June: 3-day workshop for Coventry College Students led by Amy & Oliver Thomas-Irvine.

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An Artwork Experienced in Chapters

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Exposition / Prologue

R&D, community consultation, design proposal, planting. More >

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Chapter 1: The Seed

A short film documenting an improvised collaborative drumming journey that took place before the July wheat harvest in Hatton, Warwickshire. More >

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Chapter 2: The Rick

A temporary thatched rick of straw in our Hatton wheat field, marking the end of the summer’s harvest. More >

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Chapter 3: The Hairy Barge

Processioning the materials to the communities that will use them; from Hatton Locks to Coventry Canal basin, March 2022. More >

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