Views from West Heath
In 2007 I was commissioned by LIFT and various Birmingham PCT’s to create Artworks for 5 new build Health Centres in Birmingham. Whilst Lift had commissioned a Public Art Strategy for other new builds, there were 5 that were being built too soon. The brief asked for engagement with design teams, PCT’s, and local communities to create the artworks. Initially I spent some time researching and taking photographs of the local area and each site before writing a proposal for each artwork.
During initial site visits around West Heath it struck me that although there is a sense of being high up it is very rare to actually see a view. ‘Views from West Heath’ attempts to put the views back in to the landscape. Slicing through the walls of the new Health Centre the images look out onto familiar localities in West Heath, however the depiction of the area has been interfered with, manipulated and transformed. The views are no longer direct representations but have been merged with the minds, memories and imaginations of the West Heath community. Working with Creative Writer and Story Teller Maria Whatton, local schools and members of the local community were invited to workshops. Participants were taken back in time and into the hollow of a tree, there, safe they were asked to describe the view. Other participants were asked to visualise areas that held emotional value, or asked to retake their journeys to school imagining that this time, magic dust had been sprinkled along their route. Using photoshop and photography I then visualised the resulting texts attempting to recreate ‘Views from West Heath’.
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