On the 21st of August 2016, the Selsey Academy burnt down in a horrendous fire, with the substantial loss of archives.
Arts Dream Selsey embarked on a community project to retrace some of the memories of past staff and students who had been part of the Academy over the last 50 years, and to produce an on-line exhibition of photographs, and stories detailing interesting memories. The second part of the project was to commission a professional local artist -Pamela Howard OBE to use some of the stories and images as a stimulus for a large -scale art work to be displayed in a variety of venues around the Manhood Peninsular
Arts Dream were delighted that they were awarded a grant from the Big Lottery Fund and from Ferry Farm Community Fund to support their aspirations
To assist us in this project we worked with a researcher from the West Sussex Records office who uncovered some interesting facts and photographs from the late 70’s through to the present day. Currently we have over 700 people on the Out of the Ashes - Selsey Facebook page and over 400 photographs. 250 Academy students completed their own ‘Out of the Ashes ‘art works and the top three were presented with prizes from Arts Dream.
Some of the highlights for the Ashes team has been talking to past staff and students in the community meetings and seeing their fantastic archives and hearing some of the fascinating stories about staff, pupils and school experiences. Pamela worked on the Ashes art work in a garage near her studio, and to date 280 people have visited her to see her work.
The work is not a flat painting, but a 3D collage made up at times of found objects, so for example a button becomes a football, kit kit papers become a life boat, and odd bits of string, and other materials enhance the surface to reflect different textures that ‘escape the fire ‘to form a new and different narrative. The piece is not a social document although events can be easily drawn out of the art work, and some characters will be recognisable, but an interpretation of a devastating event stimulated by the phrase ‘And the band played on.
We hope ‘Out of the Ashes’ will leave a lasting legacy for Selsey that celebrates in a new and innovative way the last 50 years of the Academy. It will be an excellent memorial to a past time, and become part of Selsey’s cultural heritage. The work will be on tour from December 2018. If you would like to exhibit ‘Out of the Ashes’ please contact Chris Butler, Arts Dream Selsey Director
‘Your use of recycled materials, the layered 3D relief of the art work is inspiring. A beautiful piece of work’
Geoffrey and Shirley are forever amazed at the ability of Pamela to create and tell the truth and bring reality to life She’s a lesson to each and everyone of us and the picture is anything but rubbish’
‘An inspirational project ‘
- Jack Dee
‘Genius friend, another triumph, captivating and totally original ‘