Review of the Year 2019

2019 saw HOME Slough stamp its mark on the arts in Slough, with a plethora of live performances, workshops and community events.

Saad Eddine-Said, Director at HOME Slough said, “Looking at our impact evaluation, I can only be impressed by the amount of work that was achieved during 2019. I was delighted to see the involvement of our partners and communities in shaping the programme and pleased that it reached thousands of people from all over Slough.”

Following the themes of ‘Re-imagining Slough’, ‘Street Art’, ‘Nature’ and ‘Family Days’, locals of Slough have been entertained throughout the year with highlights including: the installation of two new town centre murals, live performances at Slough’s summer festivals, a phenomenal takeover of the High Street with Switched On Slough and our first residency “TEXT BENDER – A SHOP OF WORDS” by artist R.M. Sànchez-Camus.

New murals in Slough inspired by young people

A new commission to bring art to Slough streets can be viewed on the wall at The Curve Plaza and on the Wellington Street hoardings, facing the old TVU site.

The HOME Slough commission, supported by Slough Borough Council and Arts Council England, was for an artist to design and install murals in collaboration with young people in Slough.

Cllr Martin Carter, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Growth & Skills, Slough Borough Council said, “It is a pleasure to see new art being commissioned in and around the Town Centre, brightening up some areas and making for an altogether nicer environment. This is just one of the initiatives now underway to attract people back to the town centre and it is certainly one of the most colourful.”

The collaboration between artist Daryl Bennett, aka Sinna One, and groups of young people connected to local charity, Aik Saath, has brought two fantastic murals to life in Slough.

The artist, initially brainstormed concepts with the group of over 30 young people, back in April. The inspiration from the designs came from the young people’s pride in Slough’s diversity and their knowledge of its historical and nature roots, from the home of scientific discoveries by Herschel to the arts with Betjeman. They worked together to inspire the final designs.

Rob Deeks, Aik Saath said, “Our young volunteers have really enjoyed being a part of the process that has led to the creation of the town centre murals. Hoardings around building sites don’t usually elicit excitement but the opportunity to be creative on them, as part of this project, has changed the way the young people view their town and those areas that are awaiting development.”

The design chosen for the Wellington Street hoarding was a dragon. Sinna One said, “Dragons are prominent in folklore across the world, in the Chinese mythology, they symbolize creativity and transformation.”

Andy Howell, Slough Urban Renewal who kindly granted permission for the artwork to be placed on hoarding, said, “SUR is delighted to promote arts and culture in the town and really pleased we’ve had the chance to give it such a prominent location, where we are building two new Marriott Hotels and 64 apartments in the Heart of Slough”  

The process enabled the participants to gain confidence and work as a team to create something unique in Slough.

Marina Norris, Interim Director, HOME Slough said, “Our vision is that Slough’s cultural life transforms perceptions and aspirations for residents and local businesses.  The ideas generated between young people in Slough and Sinna One express the imagination, pride and talent that exist in this town. We’re grateful to all those who partnered with us on this project.”

Slough residents made a beeline for fun on Saturdays this summer!

HOME Slough worked with festivals and shows across the town to bring communities together with a summer full of entertainment and exciting family experiences, all with a nature theme.

Kicking off the festival season, were “Vegetable Nannies” at Cippenham Carnival, who kept little ones entertained with their beautiful bouncing baby vegetables. At Colnfest, festival goers wandered through the Colony of beehives and enjoyed some surprising multi-sensory experiences courtesy of a new walkabout performance and installation “Bees”, by Artizani. The Jubilee Riverside Festival, an action-packed day with free live music, watersports and kids crafts, provided the backdrop for high action street show “Seed”, a heart-warming story brought to you by PifPaf about friendship and one man’s struggle to look after nature. For one day only, international act Teatro Stalker brought their new theatrical experience, “Steli”, to Slough Town Centre to build a fun, temporary rainbow-like sculpture, all accompanied by a live DJ! HOME Slough’s final festival of the summer was the Slough Horticultural Show where visitors followed “Arbor” as he strode around the show, vanishing between trees and emerging with his cart full of tree saplings to give to each person to take home.

TEXT BENDER – A SHOP OF WORDS

For 6 weeks, HOME on the High Street was resident to artist R.M. Sánchez-Camus (aka Marcelo) and his assistant Alex Parry, who took over the shop, with their text-take over event “TEXT BENDER – A SHOP OF WORDS”. Marcelo and Alex worked with a diverse range of local groups including the Friends in Need group (part of MIND), Aik Saath and Slough Happiness Collective, as well as bringing together members of the public to write slogans, love letters to Slough and poems, to adorn the walls of HOME Slough, in the form of a large visual installation.

Marcelo said “The aim of the project was to create a space where we could take smaller more intimate and personal pieces of text people write and make it feel like a work of art.”

On Saturday 7th December, Marcelo and Alex hosted a closing exhibition which was the culmination of a 6-week residency at the HOME Slough shop and celebrated the amazing people who have shared their voice during the project.

Saad Eddine Said, Director at HOME Slough said, “Having words with dreams, hopes and poetry from local communities taking over the walls of HOME Slough on the High Street, was a real opportunity to capture the beauty and complexity of Slough, in all its diversity of thoughts. This last exhibition was the finale where everyone – families and people from all ages and backgrounds – came together to discover and celebrate voices and words from all corners of the town. HOME Slough aims to connect and support the growth of creative communities in Slough and TEXT BENDER was a fantastic project that achieved this mission, in an inspiring and brilliant way.”

Creatives light up the High Street ahead of the lights switch on

A collaboration between HOME Slough, Creative Academy and national arts groups, resulted in a phenomenal takeover of the High Street in November. Music, dance performances and installations led by creatives and local community, animated the High Street until the evening and saw thousands of people joining in.

HOME Slough commissioned the fabulous ArtReach, Mandinga Arts and Same Sky to lead the Slough Switched On Slough, which coincided with Slough Borough Council’s annual Christmas Light Switch On. The projects involved different communities around Slough in five workshops over the course of the year, to co-create the pillars that illuminated the High Street on the night.

The high street was awash with animated creatures and plants. The fields of pansies led the colourful carnival spectacular, followed by a majestic lion, dancing frogs, fish, water lilies, Christmas trees, werewolves and high spirited monkeys, all accompanied by live music, much to the delight of the audience, who were able to get selfies with their favourite characters.

HOME Slough Director, Saad Edine-Said said, “It’s always exciting to see creatives and communities coming together and pulling out such a fantastic event. The High Street was alive with sounds, performances and lights. People from all ages were dancing and having fun and I was really delighted that HOME Slough has been able to support and commission this work while collaborating with all our fantastic partners.”