Children from Havelock and Greenfields children’s centres have created a new piece of public art for Bixley Triangle. Wonderwall is a small, sculptural wall, built by the children with bricks they have decorated. It’s partly inspired by Catalyst’s regeneration of the Havelock estate, with the children working with some of our key partners on the project to create it.
Informed by conversations about walls and the roles they play in our society, this wall is designed to encourage people of different ages, backgrounds and cultures to connect with each other. It’s the latest in a series of public art pieces created by the Children’s Centres for Bixley Triangle – a community open space, half-way between Havelock Childrens Centre and Greenfield’s Nursery.
Fascinated by the regeneration of the Havelock estate happening around them, the children have spent the summer term exploring brick-making materials and construction techniques. They also visited the Havelock construction site. Bouygues UK, the contractor for Phase 1b provided an experienced bricklayer to help them design and build the wall, as well as laying on protective gear and all the materials needed. Canal & River Trust, who’ve been working with Catalyst to improve Havelock’s canal and Bixley Triangle, provided a narrowboat to carry the decorated bricks to the site.
‘Children pass the Havelock construction site on their way to and from the Nursery every day and are fascinated by construction in all its forms,’ said Rosie Potter, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at the University of the Arts London, and Artist in Residence and a Co-opted Governor at Greenfields. ‘They were especially excited to see the huge yellow dumper and forklift trucks crossing Bixley Fields to deliver wet concrete, and more bricks and mortar, prior to the final stages of the building of Wonderwall.
‘The enthusiastic engagement of Catalyst, Bouygues UK and Canal & River Trust was an inspiring and authentic learning experience for very young children and for all those involved. Opening up and building relationships of trust and value with expert partners, through knowledge exchange, increases children’s confidence outside of the nursery setting.’
Nicola Wheeler, neighbourhood coordinator for Catalyst, said ‘This project illustrates what can be achieved when different organisations work together and have a shared vision. We have worked with the Children’s Centre for three years to carry out improvements to Bixley Triangle. The enthusiasm and determination of the children and staff to see their great ideas brought to life is a real inspiration. We hope this new installation will encourage more people to use and enjoy the open spaces along the canal at Havelock.’