Monthly Archives: November 2010

Imagining peace 2010 Southbank Centre, creatives meet up

On Saturday the 6th of November a dear friend of mine the talented and wonderful Yemisi Blake, a London-based writer and creative mentor at the Southbank centre organised an interactive networking event. A chance for young up and coming creative’s to mingle with one another (with free food yay.) The idea was to give an informal 5-10 min presentation about themselves, what they do and works they have produced. Purely just to learn from one another and our individual involvement in poetry international 2010 “Imagining peace”. Thus being artistically enthused by those around us and that I truly was. We had a range of different people all into differing arts styles, designs, it was fantastic to see that dexterity. From the brilliantly talented Yemisi and his amazing poetry skills that I have seen flourish through out our years together since college. Yes Yem we are that old.

To the enchanting moves and grooves of another former college cohort Shakeel a truly gifted and awe inspiring young dancer, who is part of the dance troupe Goodfoot. Who have currently been going on tour all around the U.K. Motivating  & teaching the youth, portraying to the public the importance of dance in today’s day and age.

Following on we were tantalized by the wicked illustration of Myrto & Sonia whom I had heard of but had never met. It was great to finally associate art pieces to them, and acknowledge who they were because their work fully deserves a lot of praise.

And last but by no means least Mohamed Zain an up and coming spoken word artist who goes by the name on the streets (he tells me) as urban poet. Mohamed Zain has an ability granted by God to capture an audience not just by his lyrical spit at only 18 years but by his amazing vocal singing ability. That very sadly he shy’s away from but needs much kudos and respect for. Speaking of this brings back good memories from when he use to ring a local community radio show I presented with my fellow co-host Zara Peace Saturdays on Radio 96.2fm, where Mohamed Zain would amaze us each week with his beautiful vocal ability.

To conclude it all though honestly speaking I had a fantastic time mingling with other creative’s. I felt part of something new and exciting, is this how the pre-Raphaelites felt before the magic? Who knows? Even though my presentation was majorly underprepared due to no ones fault but my own, it was such a lovely relaxed environment, and I hope it will continue to grow and flourish. Well done to Yemisi Blake for putting all this together and having the energy to keep bugging us to actually do this. Here’s to many more inspiring afternoons.

(From top to bottom Yemisi, Shakeel, Myrto, Sonia and Mohamed Zain.)

Post can also be viewed on the Southbank Centre’s blog: Poetry International 2010, Imagining peace.

Building for charity at the Peace event

How to begin a blog post summarising an experience that lasted over a month and had literal blood, sweat, tears, all nighters and message ringtone dancing. Yes people the descent of out madness stoops to all new lows. But I tell you that tune was catchy! The “Peace event” is an event in the excel centre exhibiting different culture from the arts, media, textiles, books,  knowledge/information, discussions and tasty treats from all over the world.

My involvement came in as a young creative to co-design stalls for two charities, Ulfa and Interpal. Ulfa deals with sectors such as building homes for the homeless. Prefabricated structures, for disaster stricken areas and other housing developments such as orphanages and local community homes. Its other sectors involve feeding the homeless in the U.K (soup kitchen) and abroad, the charity shop a local community Internet radio show, emergency appeals and hospital visits. And many other inspiring projects that they have covered over the years such as mountain walks up mount Snowdon and Ben Nevis. Myself and a team of a few friends conjured up and decided to take on the task, as young creative’s to build the stalls. Our team being the lovely Nadia, Zara, Saf and Isa. Our backgrounds being varied in the arts and humanities fields. Covering different scopes, backgrounds and artistic influences.

The two charity stalls both had different floor plans to adhere to for the design. Interpals being 5 metres x 5 metres and Ulfas space being 3 metres x 2 metres for the stall. The idea was to utilise the spaces and design something unique and visually appealing then your average stall at another convention, with office style partition walls. Over the next month we met initially over tea and cake and visually mapped out what we envisaged and what each stall would try to represent and portray. Ulfa is a fairly new charity and has only been running for a few years, and being its first time at the peace event, the idea was to demonstrate what Ulfa is all about, its sectors, and how people could get involved and help.

Above is our initial 3D modeling of the two spaces, prior to designing. With our 3D rendering and dimensions we were able to head down to a local wood supplier, buy our timber and plywood boards to begin construction.

Looking back construction was probably the longest thing due to not working in a full-equipped workshop. But despite all this and a couple more visits to our local wood manufacturers for even more nails we under-estimated, we were ready to paint our hearts out and happy to get to that stage after we fully completed the construction. Painting was a really exciting stage and a pinnacle moment after weeks of heavy lifting, drilling, sawing. The group all found the painting to be very therapeutic and the period that triggered the most excitement. We ran out of time to get to the stage we aspired to achieve with Interpals stall, due to having to rush to the excel centre and actually deliver and install the walls at the Docklands site. After its was tucked away nicely in our North West London base for about 3 weeks. Nevertheless after all the long hours and hard work we actually were really proud of ourselves and what we managed to achieve in such a small amount of time, realising when you put your mind to anything for a good cause you can achieve it, if your intention is right. The aim was to stand out raise awareness for the charities and to be visually aesthetic to people walking by.  If it caught people’s eyes, making them turn around, pick up a leaflet and listen to the great works these two charities produce day in and day out. Then it was really worth it for the sake of those who life’s we can never fully comprehend and whom we strive to help through this fantastic experience we were lucky to have received.

Construction and design of boards

Ulfas stall and volunteers during the day.