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Insider Art @ Kibblesworth, Gateshead

rednile worked as lead artists to develop the Insider Art project in Kibblesworth, Gateshead where 150 new energy efficient homes are being built as part of a 3 year redevelopment of the estate. The project aimed to explore the inner fabric of the village and provided activities to draw out what local skills were present in the community as well as collecting memories and special places from the residents relating to Kibblesworths’ past, present and future. Relationships with local groups, centres and individuals were developed and ideas were formed that have fed into designs for public art, green spaces and street furniture to be installed

As part of the legacy of the project, rednile, helped by Gateshead Library service, set up new pages on the Millennium Centre website which lists skills and special memories discovered during the project- as well as the people who shared them with us. See them here: skill sharing page and My Kibblesworth page.

rednile are finalising the installation of 24 unique cast bronze floor works (see images above) which will be fabricated by Photocast Liverpool and integrated into the footpaths of the estate. This piece follows on from the temporary artwork created for the Celebration event and will act as waymarkers throughout the estate, connecting the viewer to the skills, memories and special people who make up the fabric of Kibblesworth.

Prior to this, rednile invited artists Bejhat Abdulla and Joss Wrigg to work alongside them and local groups and residents. Workshops, open days and presentations by the artists and community led on to the development of temporary art interventions and sculptures which were showcased as part of an Art and Celebration Day in Oct 2011. The event involved an art trail throughout the whole estate and linked with local groups, primary school, cricket club and community centre who were able to showcase what they did and feedback any further thoughts and opinions on the redevelopment plans for the estate.

rednile artists created ‘Insider Art’; temporary signage in front gardens which commented on what they had discovered ‘inside’ Kibblesworth during the project. The images, symbols and motifs relate to Kibblesworth history, pastimes and local talent. They were laser cut into plastic panels to create framed ‘viewing points’ for audiences to observe the surrounding landscape and horizons and echoed ‘for sale’ signs and construction warning signs which were present throughout the building site.

Behjat Abdulla works mainly with drawing, photography and video installation. Based in Stoke, he uses his practice to listen to people’s stories and try to create a platform for debate around the issues raised. Behjat has been working with the notion of identity for many years since he found himself in a state of exile trying to gain recognition by the immigration system in the UK and being asked for identity pictures for the various types of ID cards. Behjat worked with the Millennium Centre’s Painting and Drawing club and together they developed the Faces of Kibblesworth project, linked to this investigation of ID cards and what they say about people’s origins. Giant prints of their drawings of local people were pasted onto empty properties, waiting to be demolished in the Village. The people in the drawings were invited to be photographed next to their old houses and the photographs given back to them as a present, so they are able to display the memory of their past house within their new home.

Joss Wrigg is an artist and felt maker based in Northumberland. An interest in natural forms, craft and country lore has lead her to an emerging sculptural practice using fleece as the primary medium to explore our changing relationships with animals and the natural world. She has created Coltspool Hobby Horses; 5 hobby horses made out of felt and walking sticks. She has taken inspiration from the memories of Kibblesworth as a working mining village and comments on the changes within the community by turning pit ponies into hobby horses. Working with the Kibblesworth Karvers to create the piece, it may also conjure thoughts of play, hobbies and recreation and the important role these should play in our lives.

Insider Art is supported by Gateshead Council, Keelman Homes and Frank Haslam Milan. The Kibblesworth Festival was organised by The Gateshead Housing Company, in partnership with Keelman Homes, Gateshead Council, the ward councillors, Lamesley Parish Council, Kibblesworth Millennium Centre, Kibblesworth Primary School, other partners and local community groups.