Silent Narratives: A Captured Reflection of the Past, Present & Future
This case study will present how a community’s memory, experiences and history can be recorded, presented and commemorated visually and how that manifestation can in turn become integrated within the community’s present. In 2003, Derry Credit Union commissioned two artworks to be sited in their newly refurbished building in celebration of their fortieth anniversary in Derry, Northern Ireland. Rather like the subtlety and complexity of the community whose history they reflect, the works produced are not intrusive monuments, rather they visually depict and exhibit the past to the present, they have become live installations within their environment. This study will discuss the processes and practices of the commissioned artists: how they engaged with the commissioners and the wider community and the impact of this engagement. The outcomes of this case study include discussion of the role of art as a medium for public communication and record, and its appropriateness as a medium to undertake sensitive discussions and negotiations. A reassessment of the role of the artist in engaging communities to reflect, record and present their histories and memories. The importance of artist led research within communities where through their (the artist’s) practice and processes new ideas, possibilities and options for addressing issues of social and cultural importance are presented to communities. The ramifications of this process within communities: what does the present need to be informed of from its past in order to affect its future? This form and process of creating art within communities’ has/could it become a cultural catalyst.
Keywords: Community, Community Art, Public Art, History, Narratives
Associate Lecturer, School of Art & Design, University of Ulster