Date: Sunday 1st May, 12pm
Location: The Old Waterworks, North Rd, Westcliff-on-Sea, Southend-on-Sea SS0 7AB
Design and Sculpt Your Very Own Fridge-Magnet with Lu Williams
Join Lu Williams to design your own fridge magnets based upon what makes Southend feel like home to you. Williams will introduce their new public commission before providing a brief history of the fridge magnet. Participants will then be given the opportunity to complete a worksheet, drawing their own fridge magnet design to reflect their ideas of Southend. Finally, they will then sculpt their design using air drying clay and attach a magnet to the back.
Williams will use these designs to inform the final sculpture which will be in place by Summer 2022, subject to planning permission. Each attendee will therefore have the opportunity to become part of this new and exciting public artwork. With their permission, participants’ names will be credited on the final artwork.
About the Commission
Focal Point Gallery and Creative Estuary are delighted to announce the commission of a new, major public artwork that will welcome visitors and residents to the UK’s newest City – Southend-On-Sea. Lu Williams’ impactful, ambitious, and fun concept will transform the current, uninspiring ‘gateway’ to the city’s famous High Street, as approached from Southend Victoria and Victoria Avenue.
As a seaside town, Southend-on-Sea has been a place of tourism since the early nineteenth century. In the 1970s, people also began collecting fridge magnets of Southend to remember their visit. For the public commission, they will combine these typical sea town souvenirs with the iconic imagery of the Gates of Paradise by Italian sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455). Williams’ new public artwork will consist of several large scale fridge magnet sculptural reliefs based upon an extensive period of public consultations.
About the Artist
Lu Williams is an artist living and working in Southend. They use research and community engagement to produce zines, print, sculpture, drawing, writing, events and workshops. Lu is interested in social history, accessibility, labour, DIY culture, protest and explores this through a personal experience of queerness and working-class culture.
They founded Grrrl Zine Fair in 2015 which platforms womxn, trans and non-binary artists and zine makers through workshops, events, Grrrl Zine Library, based at The Old Waterworks, Southend and Grrrl In print Zine. In 2021 they co-founded Dog Ear, a place for sculptural dog toys and artist publishing.
As a third generation Southender, Lu will be reflecting on Southend’s history as well as imagining the high street of the future and what could be done now. Members of community groups and other local creatives will be invited to consult and contribute to the design of the public artwork through facilitated workshops and printed matter to gather thoughts, memories and ideas.