Naseem has written and run workshops about art, social history and our natural world in schools, museums, and community settings for over 20 years. As part of her projects for South Pennines Park, she worked with residents of Rose Hill care home and South Square knitters group in Thornton, Keighley Association Women and Children’s Centre and two local family groups in Keighley.
Naseem talks about her projects:
I am all about drawing and storytelling! In my wider practice I create immersive sculptural ‘drawings and installations which I tour from my studio at Keighley Creative in Yorkshire. Working in residency in the South Pennines Park has brought my focus home! A chance to explore, draw and look anew at our beautiful landscape. (It was great to team up with South Square Centre and Keighley Creative. I had my first solo exhibition at South Square. I currently have my studio and am one of two Creative leads at Keighley Creative).
I was born and raised in Bradford- growing up in Thornton. I went to the Church school right next door to the birthplace of the Bronte’s; I grew up learning how you could use the environment around you to fuel your imagination. I was the school artist – I loved drawing and storytelling, and as kids we played in the landscapes of the South Pennines. We wandered far. I loved its wild edges- and we always found somewhere new to explore, often on our doorstep. It’s a landscape where stories are made!
Using Travel Drawing Boxes, I took participants out on Walk and Draw explorations and when rain intervened, we worked in some amazing spaces looking out. Using fun fast drawing exercises, no experience required! Anyone can draw! We drew what we saw and discussed what we loved and ideas for change to make The South Pennines Park great for everyone to enjoy.
South Square Centre is a collection of 19th century cottages, in the old Yorkshire village of Thornton, famous for its Bronte connections and impressive 20- arch viaduct. Renovated as a community art centre in 1982 it is now home to 10 studio spaces for a variety of artists, as well as a gallery, community spaces, archive fine art framers bar and café. The centre hosts community events and activities for all ages including an ongoing workshop programme and provides community spaces.
In Thornton we worked with residents of Rose Cottage care home, and the South Square Knitters Group. I took art packs into Rose Cottage and drew Bob Ross style on an easel looking out of the conservatory windows into their garden and out into the South Pennine hills. Participants joined in as we chatted about their home and how they enjoyed their area.
With the Knitters we visited the Bronte Bell Chapel and when rain looked ominous, we retreated into St. James Church to draw the architecture, Bronte relics exhibition and some natural forms collected from the local area.
Keighley Creative is a volunteer-led arts organisation and charity, providing exciting projects and fun activities for its local communities in the heart of west Yorkshire. It has a growing number of studios, a gallery and project space housed in the old Sunwin House in Keighley Centre. It also runs the annual celebratory Keighley Arts and Film Festival. From here we worked with the Keighley Association Women and Children’s Centre and two local family groups. Bob Smith, one of Keighley Creative’s trustees, was our guide on one of our Walk and Draw events up through Keighley and into Park Wood. He is a photographer, Writer and Mountain Leader.
The places we visited included Cliffe Castle Museum and Park, Park Wood – Keighley’s ancient Woods just above the town, a town which is scattered with historical mill buildings. We also wondered about Central Keighley which included trips to its churchyards, green edges and its scrublands where industry touches the wild which is often overlooked and always surprising! We drew with our Travel Drawing Boxes whilst putting the world (and local South Pennines Park) to rights. Friends were made and a fresh perspective of a place we call home was gained.
Film & image credits: Studio Bokehgo