The People Speak have been commissioned by the Swan Foundation to create a piece of public artwork for BeechWood Village/ Craylands estate in Basildon. The Swan Foundation are a charity organisation that run sustainable projects that challenge exclusion, helping communities in East London and Essex to achieve more for themselves.
Through a series of free and open participatory events with The People Speak, the local residents shared ideas, discussed pros and cons of each idea and came to a conclusion on what form the public work would take. The People Speak then brought this ‘collectively conceived piece of public art’ into materialisation. For more details and information on this process and deliberation for each suggestion presented by the residents please visit their blog.
The final piece came about primarily from a collective desire for a connection to the prehistoric past; some cultural heritage to be proud of. The cave paintings were designed by children from the area in a painting workshop led by The People Speak, and then were transferred to the artwork.
One of the main concerns in regards to public art is that it may be vandalised, stolen or ignored. The People Speak have devised a process that cements the views, needs and ideas of local residents of all ages firmly within the art work itself. This idea of collective design is particularly innovative as it acts as a preventative measure against these concerns.
The reaction from locals was one of enthusiasm:
This is the best thing that has ever happened on Craylands!
And why wouldn’t they be? They helped create it!