An important aspect of engagement at Lancaster West estate is becoming part of the local community. I've attended residents meetings and social events. Set up spaces on the estate where residents can engage in art or reflect on archive displays. This is not an easy process and takes time. I've had to overcome resistance and apathy. Why do we need art when there are other pressing social issues and money could be spent elsewhere? Hopefully, I have countered these with the energising role that art can make for residents irregardless of age, background or ability.
At Grenfell Tower on the estate there is a major regeneration taking place. £10 million pounds has been invested in an upgrade to the buildings facade, windows, heating and in providing new flats and community spaces, including a creche and boxing club. A core of residents have challenged the consultation process and the proposed layout of heating in their flats, specifically the siting of a boiler in the hallway entrance. This has reached an impasse. I have been documenting the residents meetings with their local councillors and Tenant Management Organisation as they try to move forward.
My residency at Lancaster West has also involved a series of drawings made in collaboration with younger residents. Getting them to connect with where they live and thinking about how large scale drawings might be turned into a visionary mural. We have four fascinating images each building on the foundations of the other. They range from panoramic cityscapes to multicultural states of mind, from an African savannah to a science-fiction roller coaster ride. I'm not quite sure where we will end up but I am being guided by the imagination of youth.
Star date: 20/06/15.
A benign alien came to North Kensington and attended the Silchester annual fete.
High pollution levels in the earth's atmosphere not withstanding, they enjoyed rap, consumed roses and predicted QPR would win the double.
They travelled back home to Planet Trog eight light years away.
Imagery designed by residents at Silchester and Lancaster West estate.
Narrative completed by Lancaster West community artist in residence, Constantine Gras.