Project Description

This is the African Arts Centre. On every wall, pillar, column it seems, is a piece of art – charcoal sketches in frames, oil paintings, watercolour paintings, sculptures in wood, metal, papier-mâché.

And underneath this art sit the young people, at desks, with their wooden boards, pencils and paintbrushes. They work.

Amu places a bowl of warm water onto Laura’s desk. He tears sheets of toilet paper from a roll and puts them flat in the bowl. He hands her a toilet roll and asks her to do the same. She does so, easily, casually, quickly, chatting and commenting as she rips. Amu puts his fingers in the water and lifts the disintegrating toilet roll. Keep going, he says.

They squeeze the toilet roll over the bowl then roll the ball into a plate of glue. This, Amu tells them, pinching a piece of gluey paper between his thumb and forefinger, is what you will work with. He presses it onto Laura’s drawing board, pushing it up to but not over one of her pencil lines. Fill it in now he says, and takes another pinch of gluey paper, demonstrating how to build the picture up piece by piece, pressing the bits together with his fingers or a paintbrush. It is exacting work and he stands back to let the young people try it for themselves.

The club is on a Tuesday night from six until eight. The young people walk through Govan to the African Arts Centre. Their Govan is a mix of russet tenements, new brick blocks with coloured boxy balconies, wasteland, industrial land, shops, some of which are boarded up and closed down, fast food restaurants, the shopping centre, pubs, the park and the road – Govan Road – that twists and turns itself around the bends in the river.