This innovative intergenerational project looks to form a creative coalition between newly-arrived migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking teenage girls from the Baytree Centre in Brixton and socially isolated, older women in the Southwark area.
Starting this month, the groups will collaborate over six weeks to create their own responses to the issue of female representation in the Dulwich Picture Gallery’s permanent collection.
This multifaceted female-fuelled project looks to bolster the lives of participants in a number of ways. On the one hand, it will be an important socialising opportunity for – oft isolated – older members of the local community. Simultaneously, it will enable young girls who have just moved to the UK to develop their English in a friendly environment.
“This will be an empowering experience for all involved,” says Baytree Centre’s Caley Holmboe. “It is so important to give a voice and face to these two distinct groups of people, and doing so in a safe space at Dulwich Picture Gallery will be hugely beneficial.”Centred around a series of photography workshops, the group will spend time at the Dulwich Picture Gallery and at Brixton-based photography studio, Photofusion – picking up essential creative skills in photography and editing along the way.
Meanwhile, a focal point of the collaboration is the lack of female representation within the gallery’s 16th and 17th century paintings. With the help of professional photographer and general art-history-boff, Heather McDonough, the group will better understand how these paintings contribute and compare to our contemporary attitudes and perceptions of women.
Drawing parallels with their own lives and experiences, and driven by their new-found knowledge on representation in the arts, the intergenerational crew will take their own photographs and portaits. These will be placed alongside the paintings that inspired them (on 27th March) and throughout April, they’ll be littered around the gallery’s Linbury room.
Bridging gaps between generations and across cultures, encouraging friendships through constructive, creative projects – all in the name of remedying underrepresentation in public spaces – seems like the sort of project that actively eradicates the gender and ethnic divides that persist so long as we continue to allow them to.