“The idea behind the book was to monumentalise the works produced by the artists who participated in the workshops just before the lockdown in 2020. The works experienced through this book would have been part of an exhibition and as such, an impermanence. This artists book is an offering to permanence, similar to what a monument would offer within a real landscape. This book is also a monument to childhood.”
Shepherd Manyika April 2021
Between January and March 2020, artist Shepherd Manyika worked with 15 children from Earlsmead Primary School, North London over 8 Saturdays as part of the three-year programme ‘ArtLab+’. ArtLab+ is a series of integrated art and art therapy workshops that supports the development of critical thinking, emotional learning and art making skills for children in years 4 – 6.
Using the title, I AS MONUMENT as a starting point, for year two of the project, Manyika worked in collaboration with art therapist Sarah Furneaux-Blick to help the young people bring their ideas of monuments to life.
Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the workshops and resulting exhibition were cut short. This artists book is Manyika’s response to the development of the young people as artists and charts the process of each individual over the 8 weeks. The works capture their creativity and exploration of ideas as they were introduced to making, through a number of artistic expressions and materials, echoing Shepherd’s own practice.
By overlaying drawing, using collage and editing, Shepherd has extended the children’s works, connecting his own practice to each of theirs. This method reflects the reciprocal approach of learning – teaching – learning that takes place between the children and the facilitators in the workshops.
Shepherd began his third year of ArtLab+ in April this year. An exhibition of the work created and a focus on Shepherd’s own practice will take place from July.
Below are a selection of pages from I As Monument. The artist’s book can be found in the Stuart Hall Library collection.
Watch here a recent talk by Shepherd Manyika for Central Saint Martins on his wider artistic practice, including discussion of I As Monument.