Jane Matthews of Shetland Arts explains, "This project has been running in Sandwick over the past four months and we devised it with the school bike shed as the focus - an inside-outside space for the pupils that marks a physical boundary between home and school, but also - possibly - a psychological boundary between comfort and discomfort, between fitting in and not fitting in. The project offers scope for an exploration of well-being through expressive creativity via a physical space outside the confines of the classroom." (Jane Matthews, Shetland Arts)
In March, Ursula led workshops with S1 pupils at the school using photography, drawing, mark-making and spray-painting. The aim was to have fun with new materials and learn new skills whilst taking time to consider the positive health benefits of art and design.
Back in her studio, Ursula combined all the resulting work to create a design to transform the bike shed and has returned this week to complete the work with the help of her team of young artists (now at the start of S2), transforming an arguably ugly space into something bright and welcoming.
"Everyone has the capacity to be creative and use their imaginations. These workshops in Sandwick allowed the young people to see that art can be used as a tool to treat anxiety, they can tune into the power of their senses and benefit from being mindful and present in every aspect of their lives. The work they created during these sessions directly influenced the overall outcomes of the bike shed 'hide-out' - this shared space between home and school - and the public artwork at Mareel. They were able to create the work with me as part of the process." (Ursula Kam-Ling Cheng)
"Our pupils at SJHS have really enjoyed an opportunity to show off their creative side in partnership with Shetland Arts. It has been a fantastic project that has empowered the pupils to totally transform our bike shed at the front entrance to the school whilst working with a professional artist. What was previously a fairly non-descript building is now a work of art and I would urge you to pop along and see for yourselves." (Stuart Clubb, Headteacher of Sandwick Junior High)
The artwork commissioned for the front of Mareel brings the project to the wider community, celebrating the achievements of the young people at Sandwick. The big colourful clouds of creativity will float over the front of the building all summer, while the artwork in the new-look bike shed at Sandwick Junior High will remain for years to come.