24 Sep T100 Calling sees busy weekend for Thurrock artists creating artworks from discarded and unwanted items
Kinetika artists had a busy weekend making mandalas on the T100 Calling festival. On Saturday, a plastic waste mandala was created with Thames 21 volunteers and on Sunday, a Make Do and Mend mandala was completed on the foreshore in Tilbury.
Thames 21 volunteers have collected plastic ‘gems’ from the shore over the past year in preparation for the Spring Clean mandala. 1,824 sacks of rubbish have been picked in the last 12 months by 673 volunteers who attended 92 events. In total, in the last 4 years, the volunteers have held 246 litter picks filling 5,604 sacks with amongst other things 68,309 single use plastic bottles in the stretch of river foreshore between Rainham and Tilbury in Essex.
The items in the mandala represented the many things that end up washed up on the foreshore. Five life-rings and black trays were filled with thousands of sorted coloured pieces of plastic such as bottle tops, cotton bud sticks, lollypop sticks, pens and disposable lighters. Wheelbarrows were filled with plastic bottles and aerosol cans. 18 hard hats rescued from the river were included to represent the 50+ hats collected in just 12 months. The centrepiece was designed by Hi Ching and this was the inspiration for Kara Thompson to develop the outer design, using a series of white discs decorated and made by members from Thurrock Young Carers and a team of CVS volunteers.
Steve Catchpole, the River Action Clean-Up Facilitator for Thames21 River Action Group said “Hopefully the mandala event will encourage a conversation about the amount of plastics, especially small pieces, that are being found on the Thames estuary foreshores and how plastic dependency can be reduced. Based upon accurate dating of some of the plastics we know that some plastic items being deposited on the foreshores during major storms are between 35 and 45 years old. The question we are asking is where have these plastic pieces been during this time?”
Sunday’s mandala on Tilbury Foreshore took the theme of Make Do and Mend, it was designed by Sarah Doyle and Sally Chinea and with participation from Thurrock Youth Services was made from upcycled broken or chipped glass and ceramics, with help from Tilbury Riverside Project volunteers.
Kinetika artists were joined by members of Our Lady Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church and long distance by their friends, street theatre company Générik Vapeur from Marseilles in France who made a giant mandala from musical instruments and the tools of their trade.
T100 Calling continues until Sunday 27 September when the communities in Purfleet-on-Thames will celebrate the town, its creativity and the community spirit that has prevailed during lockdown.
Although the festival has had to adapt to the current restrictions, there are still ways for everyone to get involved in walking or making. All T100 walk routes are online and can be followed at any time by going to www.thurrock100.com. A mandala inspiration pack can be downloaded from the T100 website offering ideas for making mandalas from a variety of everyday items. People from across the country and around the globe are sharing their mandalas on facebook, instagram and twitter.
Ali Pretty, Kinetika’s Artistic Director said: “It was very powerful working with Steve Catchpole and his team who have showed such dedication in bringing awareness to the plight of plastic in the Thames, I hope that next year we can continue to collaborate with local groups to address the challenges we face ahead. “
Jackie Doyle Price, MP for Thurrock visited to see the finished mandala and said “Congratulations to all those involved in this year’s T100 festival. While the pandemic brought its challenges, it has been good to see so many people involved. I was very pleased to receive the centrepiece of the Mandala which illustrates the Thurrock motto “From Thames to all Peoples of the World” and I look forward to finding a home for it for permanent display. It is inspiring to see so much imagination on such vivid display.”
The remaining T100 Calling mandalas are:
Wednesday 23 September – IMAGINATION OUR NATION: IN YOUR MIND.
Creativity, wellbeing and mindfulness can make dreams come true! Have fun and think about what other materials Kinetika could use for mandalas by sharing the things that matter.
Saturday 26 September – RENEWAL: IN YOUR GARDEN/STREET
Turning landfill into a community park, where insects and wildlife can thrive again. Make a mandala to create a natural habitat in your garden.
Sunday 27 September – GROW YOUR OWN: IN YOUR GARDEN/ALLOTMENT
Sustainable communities, home grown vegetables and plants, foraging, living a healthy lifestyle. Make a mandala from local produce or home-grown food. Plant seeds for the future and share dreams for a world that is changing.
Find out about creating mandalas and see the mandala gallery on the T100 website. http://thurrock100.com/may-mandala-gallery/