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In May 2006, printmaking workshops were offered to women of Pakistani origin living in Cardiff. This was achieved through a pilot project sponsored by Artes Mundi in partnership with AWEMA. Fifteen women in Cardiff participated in learning the technique of collagraph.

 The individual collagraph blocks made at the workshop were then printed up as a small edition onto one large sheet of handmade paper, at the very limits of our largest press. The resulting print was spectacular, not only for its range of imagery but also for the texture and colour. It was exhibited at the National Museum, Cardiff and also at the Festival of Muslim Cultures Print Project exhibition at the Taliesin in Swansea in July 2006.

Detail of large collagraph print
Detail of large collagraph print

It was also included in the catalogue of the Contemporary Welsh Printmakers exhibition in Pakistan. The catalogue, which was in Welsh, English and Urdu featured a section on the collaboration between SPW and the All Wales Ethnic Minority Association called Multiculturism through Art

This catalogue is now out of print but it can be accessed as a pdf file

Artes Mundi celebrates diversity and the global language of visual art. As its Latin name suggests, Artes Mundi (‘Arts of the World’) has been initiated to encourage

international exchange between diverse cultures. It provides a framework of activity including a biennial international exhibition, public events and education and outreach programmes.

Liberty Paterson says in the catalogue:-

“Artists Sameera Khan and Sarah Hopkins led the workshops, teaching the women the technique of collagraph printmaking. It was impressive to witness the gentle way Sameera and Sarah encouraged the women to explore their own creativity and culture, developing new skills, and increasing their knowledge of contemporary visual art.

The results were spectacular. It was difficult to believe that the women had absolutely no previous artistic experience. The professional quality of the prints led to the work being exhibited in the National Museum Cardiff.

One of the women participating commented that the workshop had enabled her to “express ideas of who I really am”. Clearly the workshop had helped the women to create their own identities, find new places from which to speak whilst discovering a sense of pride in the value they bring to their communities.”

LIBERTY PATERSON

So successful was the workshop that Heather Stevens - a Trustee of Artes Mundi - agreed to support an extension of the project to communities in Swansea.

The Swansea Workshops

Through the auspices of the Artes Mundi trustees, and a collaboration with AWEMA we were able to mount more workshops in Swansea and bring artist Aleem Dad Khan from Pakistan to work on the project in November 2006. The Muslim women who had taken part in the original workshop were so enthusiastic that they came over to Swansea to do more workshops

Workshops between October and December 2006 were organised where participants were introduced to other printmaking techniques including screenprinting, woodcut and monoprinting. For this part of the programme, both younger and older participants were drawn from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.  They included individuals from Malaysia, China, Zimbabwe, East Africa, Wales, England, Somalia,The Philipines, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India.