The Seals of Seal Island
The Selsey Seals project is part of Destination Selsey. Art students from Chichester College entered a competition to design and paint 5 life-size fibre-glass seals that will be placed in different locations in Selsey - to be revealed on July 8th 2021. Media and Photography students documented the entire process. The Fibre Glass seals 1.86 x 0.66 metres were made by Jago manufacturers, Manor Nurseries, Runcton West Sussex. The seals are painted in Gloss Rustoleum and finished in anti graffiti varnish. A wonderful and fulfilling project with many thanks to all the staff at Chichester College and Jago manufacturers and the visionary Zoe Neal from Selsey Town Council whose concept this is.
Photography by Phil Bassett
THE TAMARISK WALTZ
August- September 2020
The Lockdown Trilogy
ARTY-CHOKES VERSUS THE RED HOT POKERS...
The Tamarisk Waltz
These Tamarisk trees are the front garden of a nearby house on East Beach Road. It is separated from the house by a gravel private road. The composer Eric Coates and his wife Phyllis Black lived for some years in several houses in Selsey. They were passionate ballroom dancers and loved to go to London Ballrooms sometimes imagining themselves as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers! One day they walked past the Tamarisks on East Beach Road just after they had been pollarded and they thought the trees looked as if they were dancing. Coates was inspired to write the orchestral piece ‘By the Tamarisks’ (many versions which can be found on YouTube).
The view from my window I see every day. In 2013 my neighbour planted a late flowering Tamarisk bush. In his front garden - normally the pink flowers have gone by August/September. One day a man from the Council came and installed the Dog Shit bin in the middle of the Tamarisk bush in a Private unmade road At the same time the Council installed on the other side of the ramp a ‘ letterbox ‘ garbage bin, the opening of which is too small for most rubbish. Consequently in these summer months, the plastic bags pile up... but... at night... the rats come and tear the bags open, which pleases the foxes who eat the rats, which pleases the birds who eat what is left over, and the wind then blows the remains into our gardens... and each day we come and clear it up...
The Parley-ament of Arty-chokes versus The Red Hot Pokers...
(or a view of my garden from my studio)
The Red Hot Pokers represent the free-lance theatre artists who are petitioning the government for help in these difficult times. The Arty-Chokes, protected by a fence and a thick hedge represent those that appear to be vaguely listening... but there is a large gap between them...
Out of the Ashes
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 ‘