Ancient Japanese poetry has inspired a group of children at a play centre in Wythenshawe to write their own poems.
Families from the Wythenshawe area have been using photography and traditional playground games to explore the places of personal importance to them in their local community.
The poems and photographs will be displayed in a free exhibition of words and pictures at Wythenshawe Forum from 25 October to 2 December.
The new exhibition of poetry and photographs is just one outcome of a Manchester Art Gallery community project that is running alongside the gallery's current exhibition, Art Treasures in Manchester: 150 years on. The exhibition, which opened on Saturday 6 October, tells the story of the largest art show ever to have been staged in the UK, held here in Manchester in 1857.
Inspired by the achievement and history of the original exhibition, nine groups from across the city have been working with artists and Manchester Art Gallery staff to explore aspects of their individual and community heritage. Three of these projects have taken place in Wythenshawe.
In one project, children at The Addy Young Peoples Centre have been working with Manchester poet Mike Garry, learning how to write haikus, stories and poetry. The children have been exploring the themes of work and play and have now written their own poems about playing on the adventure playground at The Addy.
Nine year-old Ben Bridge from Wythenshawe wrote a haiku about winter. He said: " I feel good because some of the words I've produced...I didn't have a clue what a haiku was before I came here to this."
Eleven year-old Sophie Milnewrote about playing on the adventure playground at the centre. She said: " I think its good to do poems with Mike…. If I wasn't here I'd be bored but as I'm doing poems I'm happy because I like the rhyme of them."
In a second project, a group of mothers and their children from the Benchill area worked with photographer Alan Taylor. They learned to use digital cameras, played skipping and clapping games and took photos of each other at play.
One mum from the group said: "We are proud that what we've created will be shown in an exhibition in our local area and at Manchester Art Gallery…"
Artist Alan Taylor said: " It was good to see families spending some quality time together, to see them so proud of their own work, and so proud of their city of Manchester and its great heritage."
A third Wythenshawe group with participants ranging in ages from 17 to 67 worked with photographer Rebecca McKnight to capture images and stories about the places that are important to them. The group wrote poems and took photographs of places such as their family homes.
Artist Rebecca McKnight said: " The highlight for me was to see older and younger people working together and learning from each other "
Councillor Mike Kane said: "The Art Treasures exhibition of 1857 was a remarkable event and a huge achievement for Manchester. 150 years on, Manchester Art Gallery's exhibition provides an engaging platform for exploring the wider history of the city and its communities. This local display and the major exhibition both explore the heritage of Manchester and its people, they are a superb illustration of the ways individuals create and nurture the city's enduring spirit and ambition."
* There will be a launch event for the displays at Wythenshawe Forum on 25 October 2007, 1.30 - 3.30pm. *
Dawn Bryan, tel: 07958 581 365 or Jenny Beard, Communications Manager, Manchester Art Gallery, tel: 0161 235 8864.