Last November saw the opening of the hugely successful ‘Paper Dialogues – the Dragon and our Stories’ exhibition at St. Helier Town Hall. The exhibition was a collection of stunning paper-cut art by Professor Xiaoguang Qiao from China and Norwegian artist Karen Bit Vejle. The work comprised a 9 meter long paper-cut dragon and 7 dragon eggs – a collaboration that told the story of Xiaoguang Qiao and Karen Bit Vejle’s quest in search of dragons. The exhibition ran for two weeks, during which time over 5,000 visitors including 600 students came to see the work.
But the dialogue has only just begun…
During their time in Jersey, Professor Xiaoguang and Karen Bit Vejle ran Masterclasses to teach seven local artists how to paper-cut. Thanks to the ongoing support of Skipton International through the Skipton Art Series and the One Foundation, artists Abi Overland, Anna Shipley, Ben Robertson, Joanna Brown, Karen Le Roy Harris, Lizi Hill and Maria Tarrant will be creating their own pieces of paper-cut art, as well as leading community workshops, in 2017.
With their new skills they will create their own pieces of paper-cut work and will be responsible for igniting a huge community outreach programme with local school children and the general public. As a legacy to the Paper Dialogues exhibition, the work created by students and the community will form Jersey’s ‘paper dialogue’ in the form of our own paper-cut dragon.
All of the work created (by artists, students and the community) will be exhibited in a celebratory showcase in 2017 titled ‘Paper Talks’. The exhibition will tell the story of the process and relations that have formed as well as what has been discovered through the work.
With the additional support of JEDFAS (Jersey Decorative and Fine Arts Society) twenty one schools will be taking part in the initiative. The first school and public workshops will commence in December. The Jersey Arts Trust who run the Skipton Arts Series and Paper Talks projects are now seeking expressions of interest from businesses and community groups who would like to contribute to the ‘Jersey Dragon’ and engage in the project in some way. People should contact Alice Bravery on email@example.com to discuss further.
Jim Coupe, Managing Director of Skipton International said: “The Paper Talks outreach programme is a great way for people in Jersey to learn the skills of papercutting from local artists who have been trained by world experts in the art. Skipton International is delighted to help support this project, and we look forward to seeing the end result – Jersey’s first community produced paper dragon.”
Rod McLoughlin, One Foundation Council Member said: “Paper Dialogues created a real buzz at the Town Hall. Now we’re looking forward to the next phase of the project when we hope as many people as possible will want to join in the workshops, meet others with a similar interest, develop a new talent and, in the process, make their own contribution to the next exhibition.”
About the Artists:
Abi specialises in drawing detailed images of natural and organic matter creating surreal and otherworldly landscapes to get lost on. Abi graduated from a BA (Hons) Illustration from the University of Brighton in 2014 and is currently a freelance illustrator and small business owner.in.
In the past Anna has made figurative art, often in ink or graphite on paper. She prefers paper to canvas because it has always offered flexibility and a surface to work with not just on. It has endless possibilities, especially when you start to recycle the fibers, using it as an additional material rather than a space to fill.
As a full time mural artist, predominantly working outdoors, Ben enjoys experimenting when in the studio with new, alternative mediums and art forms that then influence his outdoor large-scale murals. Over the past two years he has directed comprehensive Graffiti Art lessons with student artists, aged from 6-12 years.
Joanna transforms spontaneous doodles into delicate artworks by mixing traditional drawing methods with digital technology to create her finished pieces. Her work is often mythical and open to narrative possibilities. She runs Motion Studio with her partner David Gregory, teaching students ages 7 upwards digital art and animation.
Originally from Jersey but now based in London, Karen’s work finds ways of reinterpreting the past as well as understanding the importance and relevance the past has today. She has previously worked on a large residency project with Jersey Heritage – ‘The Past Unravels’ at the Merchant’s House in Jersey Museum, which involved responding to the site’s history and creating a series of site-specific installations. More recently, Karen has curated a show in London working with Jersey Heritage archives and the works of Claude Cahun.
Lizi Hill creates sculptures and installations from metal, wood, paper, and porcelain. She shapes materials into sculptural forms exploring the idea of movement. Her inspiration is drawn from the natural world and the laws of nature. Lizi moved to Jersey in 2010 and made the transition from teacher to artist after completing a Foundation Art and Design degree at Highlands College.
You can see her kinetic sculpture ‘4 π’ at St Brelade’s Bay on the podium in stainless steel. Recently she installed a copper sculpture based on the Fibonacci spiral at Retreat Farm in Maufant. At the CCA gallery she has a large wooden sculpture made from steamed oak.
Having graduated with a degree in Biology as well as Art and Design, Maria is intent upon finding ways to merge science and art in order to challenge and satisfy both the mind and the senses. She draws inspiration from mythology, fairy tales and heritage, the beauty that is hidden and the positives that emerge from negative situations.
Through her work she often uses symbolism as a form of artistic sarcasm, to twist status, be playful, and surprise the viewer. She uses many different disciplines including painting, collage, sculpturing and animation.