‘The FOOTFALL PROJECT ‘
‘The remit for SVAF running the Sevenoaks Kaleidoscope Gallery as an artist led space has a focus on increasing numbers of the public and arts community visiting the Gallery space. Increasing its profile and visibility.
We aim to do this with a project about shoes and feet throughout the Kaleidoscope building, Gallery and the surrounding streets of Sevenoaks.’
‘We would like to invite residents; schools, organisations, businesses and members of the community to be part of FOOTFALL by making a fabulous creative shoe or footprint.’
And so the Footfall project is coming to a conclusion having achieved its objectives and no doubt having established a broad spectrum of people who will continue to visit and engage with the gallery.
It is rare to see so much work in one place created with so much endeavour and engagement. It is pleasure to sit with these things and to enjoy simply being there. But what to say?
I have struggled with this. The concept ,execution of the work, the engagement of the artists, the fun and joy of it all rightly demands nothing less than unequivocal praise. And behind it all a tremendous amount of hard work in the design and execution of the project itself.
Polite finely-crafted pieces contrast with edgy, hacked out cuttings of and into the slippers; what lucky adult keeps its child in reserve, intact?
‘Who am I? asks one – ‘MUM, Wife,Nurse…” If the slipper fits…..but do I sense a boot in reserve? And there are shoes, knitted shoes, baby shoes, sheep – shoes, paper shoes. A pushchair shoe (?) – made from leaves. Loaves of bread shoes….a ‘horse’-shoe Feet are drawn around , coloured in ,written on, soles rubbed on, smiling faces drawn, names, spiders, cats and other animals, a mermaid, aliens….. labours of love.
Whilst I was in the gallery thinking and photographing, I spoke to two visitors. A man entered, stood, smiled, shared a few words about the pleasure of seeing so much imagination demonstrated in one place; the initial response to the show is a shock of delight. SVAF member Suzanne Beard called in to drop off a slipper, and enthused about her engagement with workshops related to the project. She remarked about the way in which people gradually opened up, warmed to the possibilities of their work, – it was she said one of the most rewarding, the best projects she has ever done. The show itself points to it. (And such a range of work and artists belies the usual business of comparisons and hierarchies of value.)
The works here of the child, the sophisticate, the cultured, the innocent, the enthusiast, the amateur, the professional, bear comparison but not judgement. The power of a show like this is in its mass, of the capacity of its ’critical mass’, the combined power of all its happily formed parts, a social thing, to make an overwhelming statement about the necessity of making and the creative process, and of their importance in the educated person. There is an argument to be had about the nature of creativity and the place of the arts as fundamentally educative, an argument implicit in the work; the matter of judgement and how we talk about art is pertinent particularly in this context of increasing ‘footfall’.
Finishes 5th Jan
A Happy New Year to All!!