Small Screams of Communities 2010

Venue: La Tuerta Gallery, Madrid June 2010

Artists: the Hackney Utopians – María Alvárez, Frank Creber, Eva Bachman and Michael Haill.

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Maria Alvarez talks to Madrid based Art magazine, Humanize Magazine,, about the exhibition Small Screams of Communities.

The following are my answers to the questions the magazine were asking us as a group, i will post final text which Maria has sent off to the magazine later.

1.¿Cómo definirías Small Screams of Comunities? Háblanos de ella, y de tu aportación personal al conjunto 1.How would you define Small Sreams of Communities? Talk about it and tell us what was your personal contribution to the team and this exhibition?

My own paintings for this project are partly informed by my experiences of working at Haggerston Estate, where we contributed to an estate party. The imagery refers to buildings being pulled down, empty windows, vulnerable community groups and a search for identity and safety in a world rapidly changing.

The paintings were also partly focussing on contributions of Family and friends, we asked people we knew:- What thier idea of Utopia was, in the context of where they live.

My recent paintings have also come out of a search for ways to describe the predicament of communities who live in deprived areas of London. The multicultural scene is very rich in a cultural way and brings with it certain challenges too.

People where I have worked and live, face very difficult social issues on a daily basis, and my work as a community artist and as a practicing professional artist is informed by this context.

My ambition for these works is that they are a “Utopian dream world” meeting a more “down to earth Urban reality”, I would also say they are unresolved and as such are sketches and studies for later works. They also act as a visual diary, processing visual ideas, as moments of a longer term project.

I hope my contribution towards this project is about putting in positive ideas, enthusiasm and practical knowledge. I am approaching this collaboration always with an open mind, to learn as much as to make realised visual works.

2.En la exposición observamos varias comunidades urbanas de Londres. ¿Qué es lo que hizo que os centrarais en ellas? 2. In the exhibition we observed a representation of different urban communities in London. What made you concentrate in those?

We also have individual experiences of working with community over long periods of time, I have led workshops that have involved young people, and adults with disabilities engaging with issues of identity and regeneration, in the context of one of the most deprived boroughs of the UK.

3.Habéis usado varias técnicas, desde pintura tradicional hasta arte digital. ¿Qué aporta cada una de ellas? 3. You have combined different techniques, from traditional painting to digital art. What do you think it offers each one of them?

I am more concerened with issues of painting, and my view is that being a conemporory painter is to be in a constant dialogue with a community of artists and also with Art of the Past.

4.Tengo entendido que siempre habéis trabajado cada uno por vuestra cuenta. ¿Cómo ha sido la experiencia de uniros como grupo? 4. In your statement I understand that you always work independently. How was your experience working in a team?

For me doing community arts, and making art with people is a way of enabling them to rediscover their imaginations.

My view is that imagination is the power house of humanity, and that imagination is necessary in a community context for change to be effective. To work together with other artists and as part of a local community is a necessary state of affairs, creativity is not something to be contained by one ego.

Working as a team we freely share the moment and keep holding a progressive and living idea, and together produce individual pieces or collaborative works that the community have participated in.

5.¿The Hackney Utopians volverán a ofrecer más exposiciones colectivas? 5.Are the Hackney Utopians going to do any other collective exhibitions?

We have been working together for two years on this project, sharing insights about our work as artists working in community settings. We have run a number of participatory workshops that encourage people in the community to think about their environments and their lives, and the identity of their communities.

For me I hope we continue, it is a very positive collaboration, which challenges my artistsic practice and offers an environment of mutual support.

6.Actualmente vives en Londres, aunque naciste en Madrid. En términos artísticos, ¿qué diferencias hay entre Madrid y Londres? 6.At the moment you live in London, although you were born in Madrid. In artistic terms, f what is the difference between Madrid and London for you?

(This question is directed at Maria Alvarez)

For me visiting and showing in Madrid, it has been a special experience to show in a new city, and be able to compare the experiences.

7.Háblanos sobre tus próximos proyectos. 7. Talk about your future projects.

I hope we will continue to create new projects as we progress, we tend to approach the project in an organic way, seizing opportunities as they arise, I imagine we will be continuing to meet regulalry and putting up 2-3 shows a year.

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