Around the World in 80 Washing Lines
“A social art project pegging us together, around the world, irrespective of who, what or where we are”
UPDATE: After obtaining Arts Council funding, project #80WashingLines toured Reading, Slough and London in the latter half of 2017, with warm-up gigs in Dirty Laundry and Washbox launderettes. More than a thousand people visited the shows and the project had incredible press coverage including the BBC news and radio.
The installation was ‘autism friendly’ and multi-sensory, so visitors could see, touch and smell the exhibition items, as well as listen out for the sounds of laundry taking place. The National Autism Society supported the exhibition.
The social messaging behind the project remains as poignant as ever, and if you’re interested in hosting the exhibition in the UK or abroad, then do get in touch!
BACKGROUND: Inspired by the book title ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ by Jules Verner, I shall be creating an art installation of 80 washing line photos from 80 different countries. This project is an extension of the thought process behind the painting “Look! They Also Dry Their Clothes!” at my recent ‘Kathmandu Calling!’ exhibition, and explores culture and diversity, as well as the universally accepted notion of hanging our clothes out to dry.
The project will have multiple dimensions involved, and I’ll be having conversations with people from all round the world to capture a glimpse of the stories that are behind each washing line. A mini-blog will be created to showcase each washing line image, while the final outcome will be a fully immersive and multi-sensory art installation for the public to view, explore and learn from.
The special art project is reminiscent of the prayer flags strung along the mountains of the Himalayas. And this is where the original inspiration comes from - the flags remind me of washing lines and how this simple task of laundry connects us, all round the globe.
Painting: "Look! They Also Dry Their Clothes"
It all started with the prayer flags in Nepal...
‘"It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, who you are, or what you do – we all have laundry to do!"
Art doesn’t stand in isolation, so to signify this concept of unity, I shall be collecting washing line photos from people all round the world and interviewing them to find out about their lives. Can you help?
With funding from Reading's Cultural & Educational Partnership for its Year of Culture Celebrations, community workshops were held with Reading's residents of different cultures to inform the washing line art. 6 photos were selected, printed out onto laundry, and then hung up in launderettes around Reading (Dot's Laundry, The Washbox, Suprema Drycleaners) as part of the town's 'Art in Unusual Places' theme!
Come follow its progress on my social media channels and watch the project unfold as we all come together in the name of art and laundry. Beautiful.