Drawing has always been fundamental to my practice as an artist and I believe that drawing is fundamental to our common humanity that unites us as human beings. Having The Big Draw as a partner on Portraits Untold is very exciting as I’ve followed and been involved with delivering Big Draw events for as long as they’ve been running them.
I’m a total advocate of The Big Draw’s believe that ‘drawing increases visual literacy’ and that ‘drawing changes lives’. So I was so honoured when The Big Draw asked me to present not one but two awards to two great winners.
I presented the awards to:
Primary School Award (1/2): Sharp Lane Primary, Leeds
Primary School Award (2/2): Ben Jonson Primary, Tower Hamlets, London at their award ceremony
Everyone was dressed in their Sunday best including me and ready to receive their awards. The stage was set – our stage was in front of the stage as this was a Grade II* listed Victorian Music Hall, Hoxton Hall, London, lit with spot lights and decorated with the Big Draw banner. This was a theatre with great atmosphere that reminded me of my childhood. When I saw a little girl I watched from the sides – my sister and my mother performed in musicals and old time music hall, song and dance routines on stage, in old music hall theatres around the North Yorkshire towns of Scarborough and Whitby. Sadly these theatres have gone, deleting history from people’s memories.
As I watched the presentation of all of the winning projects unfold I was emotionally drawn into each of their stories and their projects. It made me feel joyous that drawing can truly unite us by bridging gaps between countries and language barriers and non-verbal communication.
After the awards we all gathered for the reception where we celebrated with eating a themed cake made by designer and baker extraordinaire, Frances Quinn, Big Draw ambassador and winner of The Great British Bake Off 2013, who had created a Big Draw themed cake for the occasion. A delicious treat too. As we were celebrating I couldn’t resist an impromptu, you draw me and I draw you, portrait moment. I was delighted to be joined by some of the wining young people from Primary School Award (2/2): Ben Jonson Primary, Tower Hamlets, London who drew portraits of me on their napkins whilst I drew them directly on the drawing table that France’s cake was set on as she cut her cake for all to share.
People often ask me if I’ve had my portrait painted. Well not officially as least! My partnership with The Big Draw is just beginning so watch this space! There are many ideas in the pipeline and I’m really looking forward to seeing what will emerge in this year’s Big Draw theme The STEAM Powered Big Draw Festival – bringing together Science, Technology, Art, Engineering and Maths. STEAM recalls our Industrial past and the fusion of creative innovation, enterprise and the arts.