Phillips Collection Artist Workshop at Alhamra Art Gallery, Lahore (APRIL 22, 2013)
I had not expected that collaboration would flow so fluently for us. Rachel Goldberg guided us through the workshop…sharing collaboration, storytelling and social change through dialogue and visual references; which were the colorful and captivating works (migration series) by Jacob Lawrence.
We discussed Jacob Lawrence’s visuals among our newly-formed group and realized that the unanimity in environment was a crucial feature in his work. Rooms, industrial scenes, landscapes, perspectives, fields….held the visual/story together in each painting. Color, texture and environment completed his stories…and thereby we decided to choose an environment as one force that would hold our collaboration.
We were six people with six stories varying from class disparity (status quo), confinement, the stories a mom shares with her child to sadness within happiness and the downside of development…
The emptiness, perspective, line and texture in panel no 25 made us chose it as our environment. We decided to build this environment together on two large sheets (joined in the middle), split it apart, work on it individually and then bring it back together so that our separate stories could form a new/unpredicted story/visual!
The Migration Series, Panel no. 25: They left their homes. Soon some communities were left almost empty. Jacob Lawrence 1917-2000
It was exiting to overlap and intertwine the layer of environment with our individual stories/visuals. The window, floor and the walls…all went to different people!
We kept on sharing our works with each other during the process and also put the pieces back together (during work) to review what was coming along…
The end was the most exciting part, when we kept the pieces back in their place and joined them together from the back. The visual connected so naturally that it was hard to judge that they were stories of six different people, although all of them were worked upon very independently after the split!
From the very first moment of relating to each other’s concerns to little practices like putting tape on the back of our work; where one person was cutting it, one folding and the other pasting… I realized that collaboration could make life so much better! And the end result (which came out as very interesting) hardly mattered, it was more about the joy of doing it together..