Gateshead lives bring art to the aisles in a unique exhibition
RESIDENTS will see snapshots of their lives among the soft furnishings of a supermarket giant in a creative new project.
Sitting between the dinner plates and duvets at Asda Living will be tales from Ada who’d hop on her scooter to Blackpool and Rosaline, who worked at Barons on Team Valley hand-sewing men’s suits.
It’s the first time the store on Team Valley Retail Park has handed over its aisles to become a community art space for the unique exhibition of prints and memories inspired by life in Gateshead.
The memories of more than 20 residents living in Gateshead’s Teams and Bensham communities have been collected as part of the 12-week storytelling project, funded by Big Lottery Awards For All.
Among those who took part is Doreen Herring, 84, who has lived in Gateshead for 58 years. She said: “I used to run a jazz band with my husband, I’ve lived a very hectic life. It will be fantastic to see our stories on the artwork in store and I have loved the opportunity to tell others about what life here used to be like.”
Their memories, which will be made into hand-printed books, captured the imagination of Whitley Bay printmaker Cath Walshaw, whose prints will adorn kitchenware and textiles across the superstore.
Cath said: “I have loved working on this project and hearing the stories bringing to life the real Gateshead. “Having Asda Living become a community art space is a fantastic way of making art more accessible to everybody, it is not precious or tucked away in a gallery, this project is there for everyone to see and enjoy.”
The 12-week project is run by North East charity Equal Arts, which explores the impact creativity can have on health and wellbeing and supports creative opportunities for older people.
Artist Richard Bliss, leading the project for Equal Arts, said: “We explored story-telling with people using the Teams and Bensham Community Care Lunch Club and the response from everyone involved was so positive. We wanted to make these stories public and accessible to others in an interesting way that captured what life in Gateshead used to be like.”
The exhibition, entitled Stories in Store, will be opened on March 6 at 3pm by Gateshead Mayor Coun Neil Weatherley and visitors from the Teams and Bensham Community Care Lunch Club.
Schools and community groups will be invited to activity sessions being held at the store throughout the week.
Helen Redfern, Community Life Champion at the store, said: “This is the first time we have had a project of this scale that will see products designed in this way and we were really taken with the idea of the project. “The exhibition will turn the store into a community art space and we hope people’s memories of living in the area will help recapture a sense of pride in Team Valley.”
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