May 27, 2014

Lost/Missing & Being Here with Vincent Oyenga and Daniela Othieno

Could you tell us about the work you will be showing during this year's E17 Art Trail?
We have collaborated on a little project to do with extinction and will be turning our small hallway into a kind of a shrine to the memory of five animals that have been lost due to human encroachment, hunting, pollution, climate change etc.
People have close personal relationships with specific animals, and we have all experienced "loss" on an individual level. We're interested in what it may mean emotionally for us when loss happens in a way that's removed from us, when it's the loss of creatures we may never have met. Does it mean anything at all? So Vincent painted these five very different animals, and we created "Lost" and "Missing" posters for them, which will start appearing around the neighbourhood before the trail. We're inviting people to our hallway to see the original paintings and to write or draw their thoughts and feelings about this kind of loss on cardboard notes which they can hang around the place. Hopefully the shrine will grow with these notes over the two weekends that we are open.

It's a small gesture to honour these beings and to reflect on our relationship with the animal world and the web of life and maybe to be inspired to do something about it, whatever that may be.

Vincent will also show other new acrylic paintings in the flat upstairs. And there will be homemade lemonade.

How have you been preparing for this year's trail?
Vincent has created the paintings especially for this little project, and I contributed some words. There was some photocopying of posters and now we are about to put them out in the streets. Then there is of course the hanging of paintings, and starting to turn the hallway into a gentle shrine. And a lot of cutting up of card board boxes we've been collecting, so people can leave us notes with their thoughts!

 Could you tell us about an an artist/ artwork that particularly inspires you?
Daniela: I loved Jeremy Deller's "English Magic", having it here was great. I like his concept of folk art, the merit in making visible the creative expressions in peoples' everyday lives. Also, that he connects things that seem on the surface unrelated, but on a deeper level are (like land rovers and harrier hawks...), that he's not afraid to speak about "magic" in relation to politics and society. I like art that makes familiar things unfamiliar, or gets us to look at them in an unusual way.

Vincent: I'm happiest when I can immerse myself in trying to capture what I experience as the essence of something. It's really quite simple for me. I love Impressionism for the way it started looking at everyday things as objects of art, and tried to reveal something about them. And I have a special regard for Matisse as his work inspired me to start painting with colour, which is one of the things I cherish most today.

How does inhabiting a community like Walthamstow help your practice? 
There is always so much going on in Walthamstow around art in the widest sense. That makes it easy not to forget about creativity even while going about our daily jobs that are not art related. Being so close to the William Morris Gallery feels like a real privilege too.

What are you most looking forward to during the E17 Art Trail this year?

This is only our second time to participate. We really enjoyed having people drop into our home and are looking forward to having those conversations again. And of course to see what other people are doing, although we will probably only manage to see a bit of the trail!

Listing no.17 in the guide: Click here for more information

1 comment:

Allie Stewart said...

That sounds really fabulous. I'll b visiting the shrine to pay my respects to the lost / missing. And am really eager to see the artist's paintings. Immersion/capturing the essence speak to me. And I love using what's in our everyday including language, and shaking it about to shift perceptions, and my own experience of the world. So I really look forward to this.