Walkway Press is a series of workshops and events taking place in my flat and around the Leopold Estate in East London. The aim of these events is to create possibilities for a shared experience between artists and non-artist communities, generating different energy on the estate by encouraging experimentation and participation. Some of the outcomes of the process are being incorporated into a non-documentary film.
I kept the door wide open this evening (as some of my neighbours do), and my flat filled up with children. There's not much to do on the grey and narrow walkway that acts as a play ground for most of them.
I found a box of old glass paints and asked them if they wanted to paint glasses and jars to make candle holders. Most of them loved the idea and soon we had a working team. It was over 10 of my little friends. The number seems to be growing recently, including brothers, sisters and cousins.
I put pillows on the floor so we could have few extra seats. They said that it was bad to sit on something you put your head on, or sleep on. I explained that they come from my armchair and that we always use them as a seat in this flat. They said that it didn't matter, it was still not ok in terms of Islam. I brought a mat and blanket instead...
At the end of the day one of the girls said that I'm doing her dream job, that her dream is to be an artist. She said she can't paint at home because her mum says it's messy. I told her that she can always do it at my place, that we use it as a studio, and I don't mind if it gets messy... Then I gave her an origami book and paper, saying that this would probably be ok for her to use at home as it's not messy at all. She started saying thank you...many times...she said that it was so important for her.... in the moments like that I feel that what I do here makes sense.