Musarat and I are delighted to be back with Morley and Middleton group after such a successful project last year.
In this project we are exploring Asia through dance, storytelling, song writing, henna, hand movements, gestures, tie dye, collage, textiles and water paints.
Week 1 ”Lotus flower”
Our project started with the the lotus flower. The lotus flower is one of the remarkable creations in nature. Its beauty lies in its purity; this flower represents patience and harmony. The magnificent flower emerges and rises from the dirty muddy bottom of a pond and still remains untouched and unstained by its soiled surroundings. We spent an excellent session water colouring our own lotus flowers after carefully choosing colours we wanted.
Next we introduced ourselves in a circle to each other and our name with a gesture or a hand movement, which we continued through the weeks.
Harmony and patience is what we find are strengths in our group. It’s been great seeing everyone get involved, so fully engaged and helping each other. We enjoy meeting up and exchanging our stories of what we have been doing. It seems like the project flourishes through the year as we collect more memories and grow together- so some themes remain, like colour and songs, circles and feedback.
Week 2 ”Henna time”
Today we met Jasdeep who will be teaching us about Bollywood and Bhangra and introducing us to the hand movements of the dance and the animals of Asia. This was one of the best workshops I have ever had in terms of laughter, fun and engagement. We had lots of concentrated tracing, firstly we traced shapes of our flowers and then transferred images into henna. Personalities transformed: Sarah had us in stitches with her love for henna; first she had one on her arm, loving it so much she had one on her hand and her final henna tattoo went on her foot. She beamed and was showing them off, showing the defiant female warrior motor bike rider in her!
Week 3 “Twist the light and pat the dog”
We had a truly colourful festival of a day today. Jas came to the session and taught us so many things; told us stories and taught us new words with actions, like Namaste! We also learnt some hand signals for animals as well: the peacock, the snake, the owl, the bee and the deer, animals of the forest, oh.. and the chicken…..she taught us dance moves, told us stories and gave us each a bindi to wear. We were in true Mela spirit as we all danced and moved to the music. Mark wowed us all with his chicken dance, and Richard, John and Philip danced with Jas, we all were on our feet!
Musarat had loaned some lovely costumes: umbrella and hats from the Cartwright museum. The group took turns to try on the outfits, we had such a great time and everyone waited patiently. Wwe had a great session.
Week 4 “Going Green – Forest Green”
Throughout our time on this project we have been collecting words, we have picked up quite a vocabulary about Asia. We talk about the food, the animals, the sport, the colours and each week we have been using our new words which we have learnt like Maharajah and Maharani. I asked the group what they would like to create with the words and it was agreed wholeheartedly to create a song again. As it will be their 3rd song/poem today, we made the peacock tie dye and created the backdrop for our forest collage. Everyone really focussed and we had great fun splashing the colours onto the canvas; such great fun that Andy the support worker’s beard went a funny colour green!
Week 5 ”The Peacock and the Snake”
We carried on with our tie dye peacock and back drop. The collage is really taking shape and the peacock tie dye fabric is vibrant and colourful. The end result will be amazing. The group take great care when choosing the colours for the leaves and the forest making sure there are different shades of greens and browns. Today we collected words for our song and with different stories “like the peacock and the snake” and used our hand movements and signs that Jas had taught us to incorporate into our stories of Asia!
This project is fun and different, its amazing what is retained and owned week after week. Our journey and exploration of Asia continues…