This was a wonderful autumn workshop with five year olds; we took some time to look at photographer Hans Silvester’s incredible book Natural Fashion with images from some of the tribes of Omo Valley in Ethiopia.
Together we studied how they decorate themselves using only things they find in nature; we saw that they used stuff like fruits, grass, leaves and seeds, and we talked about why they do it and how it feels inside when you try new things and create.
And then we went for a walk in our own forest and it too was full of useful stuff - there were mushrooms, and sticks and moss and leaves and flowers…there was so much to work with, we almost couldn’t stop!
And look at the cool, beautiful and fun stuff we made.
The portraits were taken by Evelin Gyllenram and exhibited at the preschool. Umeå, September 2018
This was a workshop I did with 5 groups of 7 year olds in a project exploring playful ways to get kids to move more.
In an exciting dark basement room children could choose their preferred style of light from an array and we talked about how we can move in three dimensions and how the light trail can be captured and printed on a flat, two dimensional paper.
It was a quick and fluid process where we awakened their imagination through movement and storytelling and soon the kids were giving each other directions and tasks to perform during the 4 or 8 second window: “Swim like dolphins!” “Play fight!” “Write your name!” “Dub!”.
They were amazed by how easily they could create beautiful works of art, and seeing the result they instinctively wanted to explore other ways of moving and try out different things.
They also loved seeing the process of printing the images in CMYK and happy to take home the prints.
This workshop was done with and for RISE, Research Institute of Sweden, in Umeå, March 2018.
2018 was election year in Sweden and for the first half of the year we ran a democracy project with the aim to get more people with disabilities to vote and exercise their right to be heard.
Some really strong political messages were born from this work - expressed in printed t-shirts and posters, lyrics and songs - and exhibited among the other political parties’ hubs just prior to the election.
The exhibition encouraged voters to read the messages and reflect on everyone’s right to knowledge, their right to express themselves, their right to be seen and heard, and to consider this when they cast their votes.
With and for Kulturverket and Fritid för alla, Umeå September 2018
This was a workshop I did with adults with a disability; we wanted to encourage movement and exercise through playing with light and photographing our movements on a slow shutter speed.
With very simple tools - a dark room, some bike lights and a free app, adults with various mental and physical disabilities were encouraged to play and make light trails. Getting immediate feedback on their movements made them keen to try out new ways of moving to create different patterns, becoming active co-creators in the process.
It was sweaty fun and many of them instantly downloaded the app on their own phones to keep experimenting at home.
These are some of the beautiful images captured by a young dancer, a man in a wheelchair and two friends playing together - the images are distinctly different but there was a shared joy in moving and seeing a physical result from it.
Project was done in the spring of 2018 with Kulturverket and Fritid för Alla, Umeå.
Having a great time exploring the similarities between muscle men and marine organisms in regards to how form relates to function (basically a study of the urge to reproduce and the glorious excess that that can inspire) resulted in a solo show at The Rooftop on Curtin House in Melbourne.
I was chuffed since it is one of the acest places to show art in Melbourne; it's a rooftop bar and cinema so punters come for all reasons and get a dose of art sort of just by default as soon as they come up the stairs!
Hand painted, hand cut paper. Various sizes.
Rooftop Art Space, Melbourne 2012.
Styling and photoshoot production for ethical design brand the Good is Good. All photos by superstar photographer Johanna Hanno. June 2016
...while in Kenya.
Sketchbook pages from 2016-17
A workshop in the slum of Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya, where the students of an all-age class were asked to answer the question Who are You? with a series of images: starting with self portraits, moving on to drawing the members of their household and their community and finally picturing themselves in the future, talking about their dreams of their own contribution to their community.
This project was initiated with Helena Karlsson for Kulturverket.
...I'd be an octopus - they're stylish, smart and give zero f#cks! You?
This was a wonderful thinking and making project in a Grade 3 in a school for children with special needs (and special skills!).
Papier, sticks, feathers, pipe cleaners, straws, paint and quite a lot of glue. Umeå 2017
A limited edition bow tie collaboration with Metzerverket - We LOVE Africa! - hand painted boxes + hand picked wax print fabrics straight from Kenya; bow ties hand sewn in Umeå, Sweden. 10% of profits go to Amani Kibera, an organisation providing education and seamstress training to young women in the slum of Kibera, Nairobi.
First shown at FORMEX, Januari 2018.
Worry, in this context, is a tremendous understatement.
I have been so shit scared of flying that for many years I never left the ground. Only when that fear started creeping into other areas of my life did I get up and do something about it.
This body of work was an attempt to talk about my extreme fear of flying, which, really, was fear of dying. Thirteen images of real life plane crashes (cut in paper) were coupled with about fifty of my worst fears, written in ink on the walls. Not normally superstitious, making this body of work inspired in me a deep fear of bad karma that heightened my anxiety around the show quite a lot.
The gallery - a subway that connects station platforms with the city - is one of the most highly visible art spaces in Melbourne, with an estimated 35,000 pedestrians passing through it weekly.
With almost 1 in 3 adults feeling anxious of worried about flying, I figured 10, 000 people a week might feel a bit less lonely in their fear - or at least relieved that they aren't as crazy as me.
Cut paper and ink. Dimensions vary.
Platform Art Space, Melbourne 2007
A body of work developed after I happened to be the first person at a tram accident, exploring my own fear of injury, pain and death through the visual and written descriptions used in the Australian Red Cross Society's First Aid Manual: Emergency Procedures for Everyone, 1982.
Hand cut paper, each work approx. 70x70 cm.
Latrobe Street Gallery, Melbourne, 2005
The Bear is a gruesome short story I wrote in the summer of 2017, unashamedly rolling around in the Västerbotten storytelling tradition of glorious understatement.
Too horribly bad to publish, I still enjoyed myself so much that I promptly illustrated it as well, and went on to make a series of collages to accompany it.
This just seems to be what I do. I've found sketchbooks from 1986 with exactly the same sort of stuff in it. Follow me on @hamnashidasocialclub for a daily dosis.
In 2007 I was part of a storytelling collective, Stories from the Ground; we made shadow puppetry shows and toured festivals around Australia just for the joy of making. One evening singer-songwriter Lior was in the audience and asked us to make a music video for him. Ok sure. Never done one, but what the hell!
I did much of the 16 metre set; grasslands, forest, oceans and jungle; we filmed 52 takes over one long night moving and performing in realtime with the film crew and their dolly on one side and us plus a guy with an overhead projector in a stolen shopping trolley on the other.
The video - directed by Natasha Pincus - went on to win Gold for Best Music Video in the Brisbane International Film Festival 2007.
It's sometime in the not-too-distant future and all electronic devices across the globe have suddenly ceased functioning! But people still need to communicate with each other! MORE THAN EVER!
Since it's widely acknowledged by now that kids' brains are very fresh and unclouded and therefore much suited to complex problem solving, the government of Sweden has given a grade 4 special needs - I'd call them Special Skills' - class, the important task of designing a fleet of Messenger Vehicles that can move between countries and continents bringing messages.
Their designs are to be interpreted by young adults from the Masters Program in Transportation Design at Umeå Institute of Design before finally being handed over to the government's engineers for production.
A project for Kulturverket with Umeå Institute of Design - big shoutout to Transportation Design Program Director Demian Horst and all his awesome students for their respectful attitudes and incredible work.
The 12 prototypes and posters were exhibited at Umeå Energicentrum, Klabböle, June-Aug 2017.
In a half day workshop at Myndlistaskólinn, the main art school in Reykjavik, me and a big group of 4-year-olds communicated entirely through making - I didn't understand a word they were saying, nor they me. We talked about heros and super heros - how we can all be one with the special and unique skills we have inside. The result was stunning, their presentations in the end made my hair stand up and and the kids feedback afterwards was "It was so easy to talk to her!"
Reykjavik, Sept 2017
A problem solving, creative thinking workshop with a group of 4 year olds.
We presented them with a problem: a family of sharks has moved in - uninvited! - to the octopus family's cave. It has gotten way too squashed and besides it is a bit scary for the octopus babies. Now: what to do?
Because 4-year olds are super skilled at creative thinking and problem solving, they said "Easy!. We'll build the shark family a house of their own!"
And because they know a bit about form and function, they said: "We'll put a slide in it, and a flat screen TV, and a window through which they can just grab a fish if they get hungry. We'll take help from the Underwater Zebras and and we'll make the new house so big that 20,000 sharks can live there, and the octopi will never have a problem ever again!"
And that's how they solved it. And everyone was super stoked forever after and we celebrated with an underwater disco.
Workshop with twenty-five 6-year olds, helping them explore their own super powers - being a good friend, hugging, noticing when someone is sad, coming up with new games and ideas - and manifest them through making a super power mask.
In 2009 my best friend Stephen Mushin and I formed The Flaming Projectors and toured Australia with a live show for musician Lior. It was a sort of crazy two-hour live-jam playing with paper cuts on an old Overhead Projector while Lior played music.
"Lior is offering a feast for the senses on his current Shadows & Light tour...Completing the sensory experience is the talents of acclaimed shadow artists The Flaming Projectors. You might remember seeing their amazing work before in the video for Lior’s single “I’ll Forget You.”
/ Sydney Morning Herald April 15, 2009
Tour stops included: Sydney Opera House - Brisbane - Cairns - Darwin - Launceston - Hobart - Melbourne - Bendigo - Canberra...and a wonderful summer evening show at the famous Spiegeltent as well.
Hand cut from reclaimed fruit & vegetable boxes found at Victoria Markets. Never exhibited. Melbourne 2007
Set design in cut paper for Lior and the Tailem String Quartet at Sydney Theatre Company.
During Umeå Tattoo Fest 2016 we organised a kid's corner where young ones could chill out, design their own tatts, print them out and get inked while their grownups were busy. Every kid was allowed and encouraged to do as many as they could fit on their body while they were served lollipops for the pain.
It was kick-ass and it was run by legend Helena Karlsson and me for Kulturverket.
A short ad to air on Animal Planet and Discovery Channel + in cinemas to announce the opening of Trail of the Tiger - a new exhibit at Virginia Zoo, US. I did the scenery and Steve Mushin worked out the animals.
Here's our ghetto setup in Steve's shed.
When visiting Kenya for other work me and Helena Karlsson got the opportunity to do a few workshops in this school in the Masai Mara; of course we pulled out our old favourite If I was an animal.
Love their answers!
In early 2016 my friend Calle went to NerdCon and met some guys who were hell bent on shooting something to the moon. Me and Calle were like "Us too! Us too!"
Lucky they knew what they were doing and had secured a 10x10x10 cm space on a privately financed rocket bound for the moon in November 2017. They were sending up some kind of instrument to measure static electricity and we successfully talked our way into letting us add something too. Some kind of message, we thought, from the earth! And to get it right we took help from some nine year olds. They had no shortage of ideas of course.
The most important things to communicate to any alien visitor who might stop by the moon before heading to Earth, as determined by Grade 3, Stöcksjö Skola, is the following:
We are humans. We have mastered electricity. We have an atmosphere with oxygen and beautiful rainbows. We think the earth might have been created in a Big Bang.
The kids made full colour artworks to communicate their messages that were going to be etched into the side of the instrument, but as the available space shrunk from a promised 10x10 cm to a mere 1x1 cm, we decided to combine the information into a single symbol. Calle designed the symbol, I added the lightning bolts.
The rocket is re-scheduled to go up sometime later. We'll see.
For ethical design brand The Good is Good and in collaboration with Umeå Fashion Week 2016, we produced a night time clothes swapping event, complete with DJ, bar, models and 600 attendees.
Left over clothes of high quality were donated to a local not-for-profit women's safe house.
Poster photography by Johanna Hanno, event photos by Jonathan Stålhös
The city of Umeå in northern Sweden has got a lot of things, but not a zoo. Me and some 5 year olds decided to do something about it. We studied animals, talked about animals, imagined ourselves as animals; drew them, cut them out on the laser cutter, painted them and built a pop-up zoo at Hedlunda Förskola in the autumn of 2017. Roarrr!
Mellansel is a small community with a large population of newly arrived asylum seekers. This blessing also poses special challenges, which prompted a series of workshops focussing on feelings, communication and friendship.
The most wonderful thing about it was that during these hours, the children who didn't speak or understand the language could participate on equal term like everyone else.
Making is a universal language.
Ink on paper, October 2017