The Galleries Shopping Centre in Bristol has revealed the finished results of an exciting community arts project, which has combined the efforts of Bristol based artist, Ana Jaks and pupils from West Leigh Infant and Backwell Junior Schools.
The project began with the centre commissioning artist Ana Jaks to develop a design based on children’s interpretations of things they love about Bristol, including local landmarks, culture and highlights in the bold and colourful style she has become renowned for.
Ana then began imposing the design on the large blank canvas installed in the centre on Friday 12 October, working daily to progress the mammoth work of art. She was then joined by children from West Leigh Infant and Backwell Junior Schools on Thursday 18 October, who rolled up their sleeves and made their contribution to filling in the blanks on the colourful work of art, before the finishing touches were applied by Ana on Friday 19 October.
The work has already attracted a huge amount of public attention throughout its completion, with many stopping to admire the creativity and awarding particular praise to the involvement of the children on Thursday 18 October.
The vibrant piece depicts a number of people enjoying all elements of Bristol life, from shopping and cycling to hot air ballooning, dining and even playing ping pong! The piece also includes references to Bristol landmarks such as The Clifton Suspension Bridge, the colourful, Victorian houses of Cliftonwood, SS Great Britain and Bristol Aquarium.
Visitors wishing to view the piece in all its glory will find it on the 2nd Floor of the Galleries Shopping Centre, next to Poundland and it is hoped that it will be in the centre for the next 12 months.
Ana Jaks, Artist says: “Everything about this project has been wonderful from start to finish. The Galleries were so open to allowing me to take creative direction, and that alongside having the input of students from West Leigh Infant and Backwell Junior Schools made this an incredibly fun and heart warming brief to work with.
From the very beginning the one thing both The Galleries and I decided on was that the illustrations needed to feel inclusive and diverse so that everyone could see themselves somewhere in the landscape of the window vinyls. It also felt important to have the student’s input reflected into the murals so that it was more than just the artists’ voice speaking through the work. I’m so happy to have been asked to take on such a wonderful community based project, and I hope to do many more!
Nick Webster, Head Teacher Backwell Junior School adds: “The children were very enthusiastic about the whole process. There were many landmarks and elements of Bristol life that they children chose to sketch, draw or paint. When the children met Ana they were extremely excited to see some of their ideas in her work. It has been an amazing experience for them and they have had a wonderful time.”
Colin Lang, Centre Manager, The Galleries says: “We’re thrilled at the success of this project! The whole process has been thoroughly enjoyable from the outset and Ana and the children have all been an absolute pleasure to work with and we hope it’s a relationship we can develop in the future. The finished work of art is absolutely incredible and we hope everyone enjoys it as much as we do.”