Art at the heart of Pennywell All Care Centre
Arcadeum project artists Hans K Clausen and Lindsay Perth have officially presented two new public artworks created in collaboration with North Edinburgh residents and NHS staff commissioned as part of a public art residency with NHS Lothian.
Yesterday Hans and Lindsay unveiled two public art commissions for the newly built Pennywell All Care Centre. Supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund, Edinburgh & Lothian Health Foundation and NHS Lothian the commissioned artworks have been created in collaboration with North Edinburgh residents and NHS Lothian staff through a series of projects since February 2016.
Artist Curator, Hans K Clausen’s The People’s Museum of Memory and Myth is a celebration of North West Edinburgh through the ordinary and extraordinary, the unique and the ubiquitous. Following in the tradition of the ‘Wunderkammer’ The People’s Museum of Memory and Myth is a curated collection of everyday objects elevated to precious artefacts with the intention of generating curiosity, reminiscence, association and wonder.
Housed in a bespoke cabinet in the foyer of the Pennywell All Care Centre, 9 vitrines are stacked upon a reconstructed railway baggage trolley each populated with artefacts collected from communities and individuals within North West Edinburgh. Each item represents fragments of social history from the community and individuals who live and have lived in and around Muirhouse and North West Edinburgh. These fragments of history, factual and mythical, aim to ignite memories, generate conversation and connect people through the power of objects.
The objects have not been selected because of profound historical provenance or monetary value but for social, nostalgic or sentimental significance and to celebrate the diversity of local histories, personal experiences and collective stories; from a grandmother’s handbag imbued with personal and sentimental memories, to a megaphone a symbol of collective activism and protest, to a world champion’s boxing gloves.
To deliver this project Hans has worked closely with local residents and organisations researching and collecting objects and narratives. The design and construction of the museum cabinet has been a collaboration with Old School Fabrications, while the signed and numbered People’s Museum of Memories certificates to be presented to all donors was a collaboration with artist and designer, Genevieve Ryan.
Hans said: “Building The People’s Museum of Memory and Myth has been a joy, I’ve been continually impressed by the enthusiasm and generosity of the people I’ve met and entertained by the stories, memories and passion that has been generated.
“I hope The People’s Museum of Memory and Myth is not just a collection of seemingly ordinary and unrelated items but a visually stimulating way to remember and celebrate the personal and communal stories and myths that helped define this community. If conversations are started, memories preserved, stories told and myths created as people wander past I will feel I have done my job.”
Artist Lindsay Perth has created a stunning interactive glass lighting installation. Hand blown glass shapes created by members of the community, NHS staff and Lindsay suspend from the ceiling. Each of the 52 pieces is unique in its colour and shape as chosen by its maker, personally blown and formed in workshops in the glass department of Edinburgh College Art. When all these highly individual pieces come together they form this ‘community’ of remarkable glass lights. Glass makers have engraved their signatures on their pieces, underlining the artworks sense of local identity.
The artwork is interactive, the lights responding to people’s movements below. Light animations are triggered and play out within the glass pieces, moving around the artwork. Waves of rich colours and reflections impact the new health centre’s entrance space.
Lindsay said: “I wanted to work with glass for this commission to create an artwork that explored a material that is both fragile and robust at the same time, qualities that could be seen as similar to our own humanness.
“Each piece is unique, all the makers choosing their own colours, shapes and blowing their own glass. These differences come together to create a beautiful collection of colour and light. Key to the artwork is that it responds to people’s presence, the lights give back some energy to the people and to the space.
“Workshops supported by glassmaker Ingrid Philips were incredibly inspiring experiences. We were given the opportunity to be really creative and learn about glass and literally breathe life into the installation that I hope will engage, delight and illuminate this new building. Particular thanks too to my collaborator on this project the awesome designer maker Mark Kobine.”
Speaking at the unveiling of the two artworks Kate Wimpress Director of North Edinburgh Arts said: “It is a privilege to host Hans and Lindsay and the artists and designers that have worked alongside them.
“The North Edinburgh community has been energised by the projects they have delivered and their thorough inclusive approach recognises the importance of art and culture in local placemaking. This project helps put Muirhouse on the map as a centre of creative talent of all abilities.”
David White, Strategic Lead for Primary Care for Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership said: “Public buildings should not be fortresses for professionals and our new Pennywell All Care Centre is no exception.
“Providing health and social care services in an environment that the local community has been involved in creating will produce a space that they will enjoy using and feel comfortable using. We are delighted to home these community pieces of art in a prominent place in the Muirhouse community.”
Anne Petrie, Visual Arts Officer at Creative Scotland said: “It is extremely exciting to see these community-led artworks unveiled to the public. As artists in residence, Hans and Lindsay have worked closely with North Edinburgh Arts and people of all ages in Muirhouse to enrich the final artworks with their memories and knowledge of the local area.
“The Art of Living project is an incredibly important example of a collaborative approach to community engagement with creativity and the arts, that will enrich lives and widen access to cultural activity.”
For more information about the Pennywell All Care Centre please visit www.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk