Four young men who attend the Local Drugs Task Force Project in the Kerrigan-Tyrell Youth Centre in Mayfield, Cork had a fantastic opportunity to spray paint a van and stencil and graffiti their own personal messages onto it as part of a Trócaire sponsored initiative with the local Mayfield Arts Centre.
The ‘Splattervan Project’ is a custom designed mobile arts facility used to engage with groups in the community in a fun way and to promote participation and active citizenship with young people in their communities.
The project in Mayfield focused on the theme ‘imagine’ and used creative tools and methods to explore what values these young people connected with. They also identified other issues that they believed needed "Imagination" and “Change". The young people then took action to raise public awareness by engaging with various arts methods to express themselves.
The group designed and created stencils and slogans that they spray-painted on to the ‘Splattervan’, this mobile unit was then used as a means of promoting the project and sharing young people’s potential while also engaging a wider audience.
The values of empathy, tolerance and self expression were emphasised throughout with the group and they were given lots of unique opportunities to have their voices and opinions heard and shared during the workshops and also at the Project’s Launch on Tuesday, December 2nd in the Trócaire offices in Cork City.
Two members of the group spoke at the launch about their experiences in the Youth Project in Mayfield. Paul (16) a young dad who painted a life size stencil of himself onto the van highlighted his experience of being a dad at the age of 16years; he dedicated his efforts in this particular project to his 7 month old daughter by highlighting a tattoo bearing her name on his arm & spreading the message to ‘step up to the mark’. Paul is determined to be actively involved in his daughters’ upbringing and is a committed and doting father and is very vocal about his love, hopes and dreams for her.
Danny (16) spoke about his chance to destroy a previous image on the van in order to create a new and personal one for him to share. The group in Mayfield came up with the term ‘Splatter vandals’ drawing on ‘Love/Hate’ imagery to highlight how art can be used to help young people to engage in their communities in a proactive and positive way and encourage their friends and family to do the same.
The core theme this year in Deirdre’s Project in Mayfield is emphasising the importance of connections; empowering and encouraging young people and adults to make connections with themselves first and foremost and then with family, friends and their wider community.
The Splattervan Project was a great way to achieve this and the group are hugely motivated having completed the van and are making plans to continue spreading their messages again very soon. The group created a series of postcards and posters to send to various organisations to highlight their voices and messages and to continue to raise awareness of their issues. We hope to have a public display of the Splattervan, posters and postcards early in the New Year.
by Deirdre Dennigan, Youth Officer