“I’m actually proud of myself (and everyone else) for not going into judgement and backing out of a public display.”
Over the past year, Iniva has been working with the Westminster Women’s Network (WWN) at Westminster Council. This partnership grew from a pre-pandemic project idea considering women’s hidden creativity, formed with artist Zarah Hussain.
This theme became more poignant as the pandemic required new coping mechanisms for achieving wellbeing in such an unknowable time. In January and February 2021, Iniva supported on the delivery of two workshops led by Zarah and art therapist Sarah Furneaux-Blick for members of the Women’s Network. The workshops created space and time for the women to focus on their own wellbeing through exploration of Zarah’s artwork and artworks found within Iniva’s Emotional Learning Cards, in a therapeutically supported way.
Over 50 packs of creative materials were sent out to WWN members in January. The packs included watercolours, collage materials and a series of grids created by Zarah, reflecting her practice, for the participants to use as a starting point for their thinking and making.
The participants were encouraged to explore their individual creativity through the act of making, thinking about the emotions raised by the pandemic and what had helped them over this time.
The workshops were enjoyable, fun and full of interesting stories, support and care. They were a privilege to be part of.
The resulting artworks now form an exhibition open to the public at Westminster City Hall until June 2021. The exhibition features a collection of the eight-fold symmetry grids that each participant completed, as well as individual works created within and outside of the workshops. It is a wonderful and brave celebration of and by the members of the Women’s Network.
March this year was also marked by the tragic death and repercussions surrounding the vigil for Sarah Everard. The poignancy of installing this exhibition in recognition and celebration of women at this time has never been more urgent.
Thank you to all those who took part and to Sisley Hamer, Steph Murphy, Michelle Salerno from Westminster Council and to Zarah Hussain, Sarah Furneaux – Blick for facilitating the workshops.
Thanks also to Sally Barton for exhibition coordination and curation.
Visit: 9 – 5.30pm
64 Victoria St, Westminster, London SW1E 6QP
Closest tube: Victoria station
Notes and comments from participants:
“During the pandemic, my mum and I read her old letters from my grandmother, grandfather, and my great grandmother. It was lovely to see their handwriting and connect to them. This is symbolised in the outline of letters in my painting”
“I was inspired to do this session because I felt isolated at home and things for me were hard and emotional, as I live alone. Just painting relaxed my tension and eased my mind to think of nothing but my design”
“I found the workshops really relaxing. There was something quite powerful about being on a call with a group of women (most of whom I’d never met) and being really comfortable quietly sitting and creating together. Thank you!”
“Thank you so much for the opportunity in taking part in this women’s network project. I have truly enjoyed myself and the process has helped me to tap back into my creativity. I have rediscovered painting again which I forgot how relaxing it was. Thanks again I loved this space, it made me feel free.”
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