We are pleased to announce that the inaugural Create Cities commission has been awarded to British artist Aaron Angell. Angell is the first recipient of the commission, which provides a leading artist with a major opportunity to deliver a project that will have a lasting impact on the life of a community. It is made possible by Bank of America Merrill Lynch which, for the 8th consecutive year, has partnered with Create to support artists in east London.
Over the next two years Angell will realise his project, Town Gas, which will see the construction of London’s only publicly accessible gas-fired kiln. Town Gas will work with 20 local young people aged between 16 and 24 to build and operate the kiln.
Angell founded the experimental ceramics studio Troy Town Art Pottery in 2013 in response to dwindling ceramics access in London. The pottery provides a space for artists to explore the practice of ceramics, removed from the idea of production and function that is embedded in the history of the medium. Town Gas will expand this approach, introducing a new way of thinking about ceramics to young adults in east London.
Angell will offer workshops and other activities throughout 2016 in collaboration with Create Jobs and Troy Town Art Pottery, culminating in a traineeship on how to use the gas-fired kiln, launched in summer 2016. The project aims to train the young adults to run the pottery workshop at ground level and through participation in the project develop new transferable skills to support their future ambitions in education and employment.
Aaron Angell said of the project:
‘By opening London’s only publically accessible gas kiln we will be opening up a whole new world of creative possibilities, both for young people in east London and existing artists in the area.
‘We will be able to produce surfaces from the entirety of ceramics’ long history rather than just those of the past 50 years, meaning that Town Gas will combine a unique artistic endeavour with a fresh way of engaging local young people with the creative life of east London.
‘Electric kilns may be easier to maintain, but they produce a very different result. In a gas kiln we starve the glaze reactions of oxygen and produce much more dynamic results – electric kiln firing is too clean and generic.’
Hadrian Garrard, Director, Create said:
‘We are excited to be working with Aaron, on Town Gas. There are so many young people who grow up in east London who are excluded from the very opportunities that people are moving to the area to be part of. Town Gas is about creating a new infrastructure for these young people and provides an opportunity to work with a leading artist to develop skills which they can use later in life.’
Emma Baudey, EMEA Arts and Culture manager, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said:
‘As a leading corporate supporter of the arts we are delighted to continue our long-standing relationship with Create through Aaron Angell’s Town Gas. We are especially pleased that this project will offer a unique learning experience to a group of disadvantaged young people. Create is to be commended on its multi- year creative approach in uniting London’s east end community.’
Image courtesy Aaron Angell and Troy Town Art Pottery. Photo by Ester Keate.