CoolTan Arts ‘A Postcard to the World’- a review so far!

cards hanging-lowresOver the last few months CoolTan Arts have been working on an exciting project including workshops and exhibitions, called A Postcard to the World.

Supported by funding from the National Lottery through the Arts Council, CoolTan have held workshop sessions in visual arts, textiles and sound art, which have given participants the chance to create original postcard artwork, sharing their thoughts and feelings about the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Inspired by the International Mail Art movement, where artworks are mailed, participants use the iconic ‘postcard’ as a blank canvas to create individual artworks. Each postcard aims to tell you something about its sender and their place in time.

So far a one day workshop and pop up exhibition has been held on the 13th October at Tate Modern in a stunning looking sixth floor space with awe inspiring views over London.

The public workshop was facilitated by CoolTan tutors Angelica Fernandez and Isa Suarez, and the resulting exhibition curated by CoolTan volunteer Zoe Clifford.

Over 100 people attended the event including Simon Hughes MP, Liberal Democrat MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark and Cllr Althea Smith, Mayor of Southwark, alongside Portugal Prints of Westminster Mind, and participants from Seymour Arts.

Angelica Fernando, artist on the project said: – “An interesting aspect to the project so far is the variety of work produced and the enthusiasm for a topic that may not be familiar to some. Olympics and Paralympics evoke strong reactions – people are either passionate or indifferent towards them. This usually comes from people not having any direct experience of the games, making the subject quite intangible. However, this projects theme has enabled people to look at the Olympics and Paralympics from a different view point and see how the 2012 games have changed the perspective of people and their abilities”.

postcard2-lowresAlso, on the 15th October, we were very pleased to launch our Postcard to the World Mail art exhibition at South London and Maudsley Hospital, with work on display made by CoolTan Arts participants. The exhibition launch followed a very successful art workshop in the Retreat Restaurant, which saw staff and patients get involved in putting their creative thoughts to paper and make a postcard – which will contribute to a host of later exhibitions at venues such as South London Gallery and Homerton Hospital.

The exhibition is open for public viewing until November 2012 and can be visited anytime during the hospital opening hours. Helen Shearn, Arts Development Manager at South London and Maudsley Hospital said of the exhibition: “It is wonderful to be a part of a project that allows people to explore their own thoughts, feeling and experience of the Olympics and Paralympics 2012 and we are delighted to host the first exhibition and become part of its journey.”

The Postcard to the World project will continue untill spring 2013 and we are very excited to be collaborating with the following venues on making and exhibiting work!

Upcoming dates include:

The Centre for Better Health – 1st – 19th November

Dulwich Picture Gallery – 22nd November

South London Gallery, – 30th November

The Cuming Museum -1st Feb – 1st March 2013

Homerton Hospital from – 3rd March – 28th Jun 2013.

Shaun Caton, Art Curator at Homerton Hospital said of the project: –

‘This is a fabulous creative collaboration between Homerton Hospital’s RNRU (Regional Neurological Rehabilitation Unit) long stay patients with head injuries and Cool Tan Arts service users. Many of the post cards we have sent via Royal Mail to CoolTan are vintage and there is something unique, curious and special about them. They are a pocket of history that has survived only to be rediscovered and reinterpreted in 2012. By applying coloured inks, collage, and drawing directly on the cards we are imbuing them with a sense of renewed purpose and vitality without losing something of their original nostalgia value. The challenge of making a thousand cards means that several people will work on each card, adding their bit, contributing to a much greater creative process that celebrates the idea of exchange and participation. In this time of digital communication we are commemorating the value and power of the post card as an art work. An exhibition of all 1000 altered post will be presented at Homerton University Hospital in March through to July 2013.’

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