A BA (Hons) Fine Art student from UCA Farnham has created an interactive poppy design for members of the Farnham community to leave personal messages on in commemoration of the First World War Centenary.
Commissioned by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women's Association, who raise money for the Poppy Appeal each year, the hanging banner was designed by second-year Eleanor McLean and – along with the original framed artwork – was presented to the Mayor of Farnham at a ceremony held at UCA. The banner will hang in Sainsbury’s carpark from Saturday 3 November, and members of the public are being encouraged to leave their messages and a donation for the Poppy Appeal.
Eleanor said: “I was very happy to be a part of such a project as I really like how the Farnham community can be so involved by leaving their messages on the artwork; I feel like it's a nice and sentimental way to bring people together. I also wanted to develop my skills and experience as a young artist by working on a commissioned project.
“I decided to use water colour paint just because I wanted it to look quite soft, and it works well for having people write on it. I started to study the form of the flower and experimented with different ways of drawing it. I found drawing it quite loosely and simply worked better as it didn't need a lot of detail and the shape needed to be quite well defined, which I achieved by building up more colour, especially on the flowers in the foreground.”
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Professor Roni Brown joined the Mayor of Farnham, Councillor David Attfield, the Mayor of Waverley, Councillor Denise Le Gal, representatives of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women's Association, local councillors, and student Eleanor McLean for the presentation, which took place in the James Hockey Gallery at UCA Farnham.
Speaking about the project, Rashida Nasir of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women's Association, said: “This year I wanted to do something that would bring the communities of Farnham together and create something that everyone can feel they have been a part of. Remembrance is such an important reminder of the freedom and facilities that we now have, and being able to have the support of the local council and UCA to use those facilities and talents to work together is an appreciation of where we are today.
“UCA plays such a vital role in developing the talent and skills of its students and strives to build community cohesion through its links both locally and internationally, that its involvement in the project was an aspiration that I am extremely grateful for. I hope that this helps to build relations and make Farnham a strong community.”
Professor Roni Brown added: “UCA is proud to be part of such a thriving and diverse creative community and we were very pleased to be able to support the Council and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women's Association in realising this project. Art is such a powerful way of bringing communities together and encouraging discussion on issues that need to be talked about, so it’s fantastic to have a project like this which allows people to become so personally involved.”