No more living in a ghost town
When the specials wrote their song ‘ghost town’ Coventry was a city in recessional decline, industry failing, shops boarded up and a general air of hopelessness. This time round with the credit crunch upon us and once again hitting recession, Coventry Art space and Coventry city council are trying hard to ensure that boarded up shops will not be a feature this time.
“No more Ghost town” say Shiam Wilcox and Frieda Van de Poll, two Artists currently working in one of the empty shop spaces given over to them to develop their current project which will later lead to an exhibition of their work.
Frieda and Shiam’s work, a mixture of ceramics, knitting and recycled materials, sits in contrast to the rest of the shop displays in the city arcade but also reflects the diversity of the shopping area. The project ‘Ladies of science’ feature Shiam and Frieda acting out the parts of two Victorian women scientists. The work produced is a strange chimera of fauna and flora with sinister undertones. An experimental laboratory of unusual specimens. The project is based around the fact that it was very much frowned upon for women to be any other form of scientist than Botanists, this was considered the feminine science and Frieda and Shiam have taken this to the extreme. They play on notions such as vitalism (bringing the dead to life through electricity), taxidermy and anatomical creations. Anything in fact about the Victorian scientific underground..
“This space has been a fantastic opportunity to enable us to develop work in partnership” Said Shiam. “We are also able to engage feely with the public, who often stop to look through he window and come in to ask us questions about the work”. “It is a great way to see what reaction to the project there is as we produce work and start filling the shop space. As soon as we finish a sculpture we put it straight on show. People often watch to see how a sculpture is coming along and how they develop” Said Frieda.
So far reactions have been positive not only to the work but also to the shop scheme itself. Shop keepers would rather have Artists next to them than empty boarded up shop units.
Coventry Arts space and Coventry city council have several shop spaces available. These can be applied for through an online application. “Frieda and Shiam were the successful applicants for our first round of Art space bursary awards, so it seemed the appropriate idea to offer them a shop space to develop their ideas” said Laura Arts coordinator of Coventry Art space.
Posted by shiamWilcox