Our World – Touchstones, Rochdale

NATURE: Garside asked local school pupils what they think of the environment

MANCHESTER Mouth community reporter Sadia Habib reviews Steve Garside’s ‘Our World’ exhibition – Touchstones, Rochdale.

The Our World exhibition was inspired by photographs in the albums of Garside’s friends on the social networking site Facebook.

He examined the holiday snaps from near by and far-flung places and with permission painted a number of landscapes to address the issues of travel and environmental responsibilities.

While this means that the artist’s experience of the landscape itself is second-hand, his response to the photographs is expressive and immediate and the result is a series of paintings that shimmer and glow with restless energy.

With the help of Zahid Hussain, author and chair of literature group Manchester Muslim Writers, Garside decided to take the exhibition to the next level and engage local school children to explore how the generation’s relationship with these landscapes would differ from his own

Pupils from St Vincent’s RC Primary School, Rochdale, wrote poems which outlined their reactions to the landscapes and these have been displayed in the style of a gigantic teardrop mobile alongside Garside’s paintings as part of the exhibition.

“Who better to comment on the impact on the environment than the next generation, and at the same time it raises their social conscience,” said Garside.

“It’s about social competence for the kids – their work is being included in a public space, and if only a couple of students take this further in their life, that will be some achievement for me.”

The free Our World exhibition runs until Sunday 21 March 2010.

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