DONATED TO ART 4 GRENFELL. 'How to survive'. Unfired clay sculpture with artist's marks left reflecting on how our surroundings leave marks on us.
'How to survive' (2017) . By Leila Houston. Unfired clay sculpture with artist's marks left and reflecting on how our surroundings leave marks on us. Donated to Art 4 Grenfell.
Leila Houston (London, 1977) is a visual artist whose work investigates the social, political and historical aspects of a place and the impact we have on each other and our environments.
‘How to survive’ (2017) was the first part of a major project funded by Arts Council England. The work derived from a dream Houston had perhaps, due to living in poor conditions in England. The dream featured a rotting, barely alive baby. This vivid image was moulded into a sculpture for this project, reflecting her own experience of vulnerability and anxiety.
The work was featured as part Houston’s recent live event ‘A Local Voice, Conversation Series IIII, Collaborative Sculpture’ (2017) (see booklet). ‘A Local Voice’ was in part a search for the genuineness of face-to-face interaction, a reestablishment of compassion and a step away from the strident individualism encouraged online. Over two days in Two Queens Gallery, local people of Leicester came together to take part in an installation and create a collaborative sculpture using clay.
Activities and prompts were placed in the space with microphones recording the interactions and conversations. Participants worked in groups to film each other’s hands or eyes whilst telling truths and lies, moulded a clay sculpture in response to cut-out phrases from newspapers, and worked together to rearrange strips of grass varieties into an order that made sense to them. The recording and unplanned, naturally occurring awkward moments were developed further as an installation alongside artwork made by the participants, later exhibited at local event ‘Summer Art Thread’.
It is in part an attempt to understand space and its impact upon us, and our impact upon it. It is a platform for many voices. It is an ongoing expedition, a journey down a sprawling path with no single destination.
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Leila Houston (London, 1977) is a visual artist whose work investigates the social, political and historical aspects of a place.