The Open Air Drawing Room It is a combination of performance and painting. It offers participants of all ages the opportunity to engage with a large scale example of the collective effort to collaborate in the making of a monumental painting. This artwork was first exhibited at Turner Contemporary in Margate from 6th October 2019 – 12th January 2020. The work is inspired by the innovative techniques of JMW Turner and the ideas of John Ruskin. This original work was a commission from Turner Contemporary and Applause Rural Touring to make a piece of performance that would encourage people to visit the gallery during the year that it hosted the Turner Prize. My winning concept was that the best way to encourage people to visit a gallery would be if they would see their own work on display! The overwhelming success of the concept with the first 500+ participants has led me to search out another gallery to make a similar work in 2021 but with over 1,000+ works. As well as paintings from each participant there is a complementary photograph taken of each participants painting hand that forms a companion installation. This work engages people who don’t often engage with the arts in a public environment and offers something of lasting value, i.e. a celebration of friendship and connection. This seems to have a particular relevance now given the current divisions and lack of connection in the world.
This project invites the public to engage in setting the world record for a painting that has been created by the largest number of artists ever! There will be more performances of The Open Air Drawing Room again in 2020 starting with GDIF in September. The piece will then tour through to July 2021 when there will be a second exhibition at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery.