A NEW project began on Tuesday to create a temporary sculpture at Coventry Canal Basin and everyone in the city is invited to be part of the process.
The Hand Earth Gesture Return turns the creation and erosion process into a series of performance events the public can either witness or be involved in.
Lead artists are co-creating the piece with extensive input from communities in Foleshill, Radford and beyond.
As part of it, thousands of clay flowers are being created which will be ceremoniously added throughout the week.
The process is also bringing communities together and, among the organisations involved are Coventry College, the Afghan refugee community, the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Parkash, the Krishna Mandhir Temple, Cambridge Street Masjid, Imagineer Production’s Monday-night makers, Sitting Rooms of Culture, Coventry Peace Orchard, city schools and more.
People can go along between 12pm and 8pm each day to make clay flowers or simply watch the sculpture come together.
Improvised performances with drummers will also take place throughout the week – from 1.30pm to 2.30pm and between 7pm and 8pm today (Wednesday), 1.30pm to 2.30pm and between 6pm and 7pm tomorrow (Thursday), 3pm to 4pm and 6.30pm to 7.30pm on Friday and from 1pm to to 2pm and 5pm to 7pm on Saturday, July 16.
Additional events on Friday include Roam and Dwell at the Ludic Rooms between 2pm and 6pm and the local artists/artisans social from 4pm to 8pm.
Then, on Sunday, July 17, there will be a ‘water ritual’ performance which will start the erosion process to ‘return the sculpture and its materials to the earth’.
Speaking to the Observer on Tuesday on the first day of the project, producer and co-curator Lucy Tomlins, from the Pangaea Sculptors’ Centre, said: “The initial reaction has been really good – the first jamming session took place and really got the place going.
“The people who have come down have got stuck in, got their hands dirty and contributed to the project.
“This is unique because usually people only see pieces of art when they are finished and I think there is the misconception that contemporary sculptures are elitist.
“By bringing it out in the open and letting people see – and be involved in – the creative process, we hope to make art and sculpture more accessible. People will be taken on the journey.
“The most interesting conversations often take place during a sculpture’s creation, rather than when it is completed so this will also encourage people to talk about the project as we go along.”