Colombian-born artist Catalina Carvajal has been turning her attentions to the hidden heroes and helpers who keep a Ipswich community thriving. Here she describes why it’s been such a moving and experience
From an assistance dog to the man who collects litter along the river, Colombian-born artist Catalina Carvajal has been hearing all about those heroes and helpers who keep the community of west Ipswich going. And the eye-catching result is that the Eastern Angles Centre in Ipswich is set to see some vibrant new artwork in its windows this month.
A key focus for the new arts and heritage centre is to provide space and activities for local residents and so, with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Eastern Angles has commissioned the Ipswich-based visual artist and illustrator to lead the project, Local Legends.
Catalina graduated in Fine Arts in Colombia, then moved to México City where she gained a Diploma in Illustration. Now living in Suffolk, she specialises in digital and mixed media.
For this latest Local Legends project, nominations came from more than 70 young people, and included Kasha Blake, Headteacher at Handford Hall Primary School; Lucy Hood, Senco teacher at St Matthews CE Primary School, as well as postal workers and local shopkeepers.
And it almost goes without saying that a special place is held in the hearts of the community for the nurses and doctors, teachers, family and friends that have helped them through the past year.
Heroes can be found in all forms, and so the Local Legends even have imaginary ones: Catboy, nominated as the supportive brother of one of the workshop attendees!
Catalina explains: ‘I’m glad I had the chance to connect more with my local community and to be able to make a contribution through my profession.
‘Only by interacting with other people can you get a better view of the world around you. Overall, it’s been a very moving and revelatory experience for me.
‘Although I heard some sad and tough stories, there was always something positive and touching that could be taken from them. Some of the most basic things that many of us take for granted are not available for all.’
Eastern Angles, the regional touring theatre company for East Anglia, thrives on storytelling and is excited to show the hidden stories from within the West Ipswich community.
The Local Legends window display will feature murals by Catalina which have been inspired by artwork received from the community. These will be up and available to view, alongside the artwork nominations from the community, from December 12 at The Eastern Angles Centre (formerly the Suffolk Record Office) in West Ipswich along Bramford Road and Gatacre Road. www.easternangles.co.uk