Fri 1 – Mon 18 April – Art across the town

This year’s outdoor art trail includes three installations in Gensing Gardens and work along the Station Path and in Warrior Square Gardens. All work is produced by artists collaborating with school children.

Apples by Emma Harding and Martin Brockman

“When the apples were ripe she would stand up on his back and reach him (Joe the horse) an apple.”
The Diddakoi by Rumer Godden
Inspired by Rumer Godden’s story of Kizzy in The Diddakoi, the artists have worked with pupils from Christ Church CE and St Pauls CE Primary Academies. Thinking about how the life of the Romanies was so much closer to nature and working with the Forest Schools in both academies, the children made apples and leaves from local clay kindly donated by Aldershaw Tiles. The leaves were bonfire fired during the workshops and Martin Brockman has constructed the tree from hazel and willow.

Sculpture of Kizzy Lovell by Jake Bowers
“Gypsy gypsy joker, get a red hot poker.”
The Diddakoi by Rumer Godden, first published in 1972
These opening lines to the Diddakoi are bland by today’s standards, but these bullying chants by school children cut deep into Kizzy Lovell, the defiant half Romany protagonist of the story. In this artwork, Romany artist blacksmith has taken their barbed words and used a white-hot forge, the original Gypsy craft, to imagine the woman Kizzy Lovell may have become. Working with year 10 students at the Hastings Academy and Gypsy and Traveller volunteers, together they have forged the proud survivor of anti-Gypsy racism that stands before you.

Golden OTHER conceived by Colden Drystone and executed by Year 5 at Robsack Wood Primary Academy with help from Emma Harding, Caf Fean, Khadija Khan and Andy Barnes.

“My Gran has gold sov’reigns for her earings”
The Diddakoi 
by Rumer Godden

The children explored, drew and listened in their Forest School setting, noticing how it might be to live closer to nature like nomadic people. Reflecting the way Colden Drystone works, they used air-dry clay and scratched their drawings and ideas from nature into the surface. They then coated the panels with gold, reflecting the value traditional Romany have for this material, wearing their savings and embodying the respect for different individuals and their ways of life.

Play by Susan Miller
Working with artist Susan Miller, 120 five- and six- year olds from Dudley Infants Academy, explored The Diddakoi, by Rumer Godden. In the book Kizzy doesn’t have toys except an old skipping-rope her gran had bought for her at a jumble sale. Her horse Joe is her playmate. Play looks at the importance of a special toy for the children, what the toy means to them and how it is a universal comfort for children around the world. The children produced these delightful drawings, reflecting the pleasure they experienced working with this book. Their responses can be viewed at the station foyer, where you can also record your own memories of having a special toy.

Choose2bKind by Erica Smith and Michael Tatenda Manyarara:
William Golding explores power imbalance and bullying among boys in his 1954 novel Lord of the Flies. Rumer Godden can be seen to reflect that amongst girls in her 1972 novel The Diddakoi. Children across Sussex and South London have explored the uncomfortable, challenging social experiences Rumer Godden’s protagonist, Kizzy Lovell, faces in The Diddakoi. Hidden around Warrior Square Gardens are 14 creative writing responses to the book, reflecting the value of kindness. This project, in collaboration with Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, has sought to equip children to navigate difficult social situations through their exploration of this book. In a follow up creative writing competition, children have shared their articulations/thoughts on what kindness is to them.

Neighbourhood Art Trial
Inspired by Hastings and Bexhill Active Arts community and the Mondays in March Model Makers club, this year’s art trial encourages local residents to place artworks in their windows. Watch the trial grow as the festival progresses.