Temple of Cultures is not simply the name of this piece, it is the whole ethos behind it and the fundamental starting point for the project, which culminated in its realisation.
London based, French artist, Atma, is renowned for expertly weaving his super positive, colourful explosions of artwork, into community based projects, all over the world. And when the Carlisle based Blankwall Assassins were kindly offered this prominent wall, on 'Carlisle's home of culture', Tullie House Museum, they didn’t hesitate to bring Atma on board, in order to collaborate on an ambitious project of their own.
The project started with the artist hosting 4 days of workshops for asylum seekers residing in Carlisle. Together, they investigated patterns eminent in the different cultures and backgrounds of individuals originating from Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Ukraine, Portugal, Spain, Taiwan, and Ethiopia, who are all seeking refuge in this country. With more than a small touch of French flair and contributions from local individuals, a rich tapestry of ideas emerged.
Once all the contributions were in, Atma spent days directly interpreting the many different patterns and layering them into a design. Within hours of the design being finalised, he was in the lift gridding up the wall and sketching out a plan which would eventually be painted in using brushes and bold coloured masonry paint.
At 130m2, this would be one of Atma’s biggest murals to date. He was therefore pleased to receive assistance from local wall painter Martin Evans (who has his own mural in Carlisle) along with many other helping hands, over the course of what was more than a week of intensive work. Approximately 30 attendees from the planning workshops helped Atma paint the lower sections of the wall, continuing the engagement between people and place.
Whether you know the back story or not, this bold, joyful, piece can either function as a wonderfully positive feast for the eyes, or a story of true community engagement and a coming together of cultures.
Carlisle is honoured to be the custodian of such an amazing work.
And here's what Atma himself had to say....
It has been an epic 2 weeks, titanic work, and the most beautiful human experience.
This project is born from an inclusion perspective, welcoming asylum seekers & refugees in Carlisle to take part in 3 workshops and contribute to the mural design through patterns, representing their cultures and identities.
The richness of the creation was Incredible and my role, as a conductor, was to combine all these beautiful voices into a symphony: the temple of cultures.
This project truly demonstrates how communication and exchange demultiply into beauty.
Finally, the main character of the mural is called Lady Tullie, a made up portrait symbolising ALL of us.
The mural is facing Carlisle's historical castle, and I feel this is history in the making. Each period of time makes it's own mark with its own stories. I am so proud to be a part of it.
Carlisle, I love you xWatch the video here.