Artists from along the Thames Estuary come together to learn Silk Painting in Purfleet!
TWENTY artists and community groups from Southend to Kew have come together over the last 10 days to discover and celebrate their local identity and connections with India, through painting giant 6m long silk scrolls for the Silk River project.
Attendees from – Kew, Tower Hamlets, Greenwich and Woolwich, Barking & Dagenham, Purfleet, Dartford, Gravesend, Tilbury, East Tilbury and Southend, have previously attended intense design sessions with Kinetika to discover their local history and created designs that will be used on the scrolls.
Fascinating connections have been made between these areas and the areas they have been partnered with in West Bengal.
The East Tilbury scroll includes images connected to the Bata shoe factory that operated 1932 – 2005. There is a Bata connection to Kolkata as the company also built a workers factory and settlement there in Batanagar. With Batanagar under threat, there is interest in preserving any connections with India so that this memory is not lost.
Through the Silk River project the Bata Heritage Centre hope to raise the international connections and profile of East Tilbury as a surviving and thriving modernist village built by Bata – one of many across the world.
The Tilbury scroll highlights the connections this area has with the ports of Kidderpore. Containers of all kinds, and ships of various sizes, can be seen in and around the docks area of both places and is a rich source of history.
During the design workshops, 60 children from Thurrock schools enjoyed the stories of ex-docker Les at the Tilbury Cruise Terminal.
“The children really enjoyed both the cruise terminal visit and the in-school workshop so I’m looking forward to seeing the final outcomes!!” Tilbury Pioneer School
In Purfleet, students from Belmont Castle Academy have been learning about the Indian poet Tagore.
A spokesperson for Belmont Castle Academy said: “The Silk River project has been both interesting and stimulating for our children at Belmont Castle Academy. It has embraced many areas of the curriculum but has given us so much more including understanding of Indian cultural identity, Art and Literature.
“It has enabled our children to explore and use their creative skills in different formats and we have been inspired by the work of Rabindranath Tagore, especially the beauty of his poetry. Our children have produced some superb art work and poetry as a result of our learning and research on Tagore. Furthermore a groups of BCA children have created a large scroll of their own art telling the narrative of High House Production Park in Purfleet.”
Purfleet Primary have also taken part and visited the local RSPB nature reserve with an RSPB specialist and local historian.
Silk River is an ongoing project that will culminate in a walking festival 15-24th Sept 2017 in the UK and 7-17th in India, more details can be found at www.silkriver.co.uk.