Peter Liversidge: Notes on Protesting at Whitechapel Gallery
Drawing inspiration directly from the East London neighbourhood and supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Peter Liversidge has put together a solo exhibition that addresses protest and demonstration. Liversidge is a conceptual artist who often amalgamates performance and documentation to create his work.
For this particular exhibition, Liversidge has collaborated with 60 children from Marion Richardson Primary School, holding workshops over a four-month period to allow the children to open up and communicate their views of the neighbourhood, community and society they live in. Bringing the project to a close, the Emdash Foundation commissioned a dramatisation of the sessions that the eight and nine-year-olds performed at South Bank and Whitechapel Gallery on 1st May 2014, a video of which is shown in one of the rooms of the exhibition.
The entire display is held in galleries five and six of Whitechapel Gallery, which are specifically used for education projects and exhibitions that collaborate with young people, schools and the local community. As well as photographs of rehearsals of the performance, we see the original hand-written brainstorms conducted by the children during their workshop sessions displayed on the table. It is endearing how, when asked a simple question of what they do and don’t like, they respond with equally unassuming and honest answers. Other questions posed to the children include what they might want to sing about, as well as things they would like to change in their lives.
Among frivolous answers that are to be expected of children that young, it is remarkable how they address issues so very relevant to society. While the children are being taught about how there is more strength in the united opinion of a collective group, we as an audience are also able to learn from the thoughts of the children. An importance appears to be stressed upon the desire for a peaceful, calm, quiet and clean neighbourhood. To further these ideals, the children created banners and placards with slogans on them, such as “give money to the poor”, “make the city calm” and “clean up after your dog”.
In addition to the display, the performance by the children from Marion Richardson School will be re-staged on Friday 1st May 2015 at 12pm. Something really quite thought-provoking.
Photos: Erol Birsen
Peter Liversidge: Notes on Protesting is at Whitechapel Gallery until 14th June 2015, for further information visit here.