'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. The social art exhibition had incredible press coverage including the BBC news and radio.
The laundry 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 of connectedness and similarities between humans across the world remains as poignant as ever, and this remained the core ethos throughout.
BACKGROUND: Inspired by the book title ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ by Jules Verner, I created 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 ‘Kathmandu Calling!’ exhibition, and explores culture and diversity, as well as the universally accepted notion of hanging our clothes out to dry.
The project has multiple dimensions involved, and I had rich conversations with people from all round the world to capture glimpses of the stories behind each washing line. Each story was written up and accompanied with the laundry photo sent in by the 80 participants.
The special art project is reminiscent of the prayer flags strung along the mountains of the Himalayas. And this is where the original inspiration came from - the flags remind me of washing lines and how this simple task of laundry connects and unites 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 collected 80 photos of laundry from 80 different people in 80 countries.
With funding from Reading's Cultural & Educational Partnership for its Year of Culture Celebrations, community workshops were held with Reading's residents of different cultural groups to inform the washing line art. Six 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 (#80WashingLines) and watch the project unfold as we all come together in the name of art and laundry. Beautiful.