How to Live Together – A Blackboard is a site-specific artwork at Church Street Library - produced by artist Christian Nyampeta and The Showroom in collaboration with a wide range of local groups and residents through a series of art and design workshops.
Exploring the question of ‘how to live together’, the workshops generated and collected the knowledge, histories and stories of Church Street, from in and around the local area and further afield.
The content produced – including artworks, photographs and personal reflections by workshop participants – is interspersed amongst archival material, historical references and local anecdotes.
These multiple layers make up an image that evokes the library and the market place as sites of exchange, where people, stories and objects come together and interact.
Nyampeta arranged this fertile and diverse material upon an expanding ‘tree of knowledge’ that grows from the heart of the library, reaching across each room to connect the many lives, histories and images that constitute the Church Street neighbourhood.
How to Live Together – A Blackboard was launched at Church Street Library on 14 January 2015 and is available to see during the library's opening hours.
Commissioned by Westminster City Council
Collaborators include: Church Street Library English Speaking Club, Church Street Library Homework Group, Church Street Library Staff and Volunteers, Church Street Market, City of Westminster Archives Centre, Friends of Church Street Library, King Solomon Academy, The Marylebone Project Women’s Day Centre, The Mosaic Community Trust, Penfold Community Hub at 60 Penfold Street and Seymour Art Collective at the West London Day Centre
A Garden Among the Flames
By Ibn al-Arab (1165-1240)
From the book Al Futuhat Al Makkiyah
Translation by Ma'n Abutaleb
Once before today I would deny my fellow
If his religion to mine not near
Now my heart accepts every image
A pasture for gazelles, a monastery for monks
A home for idols and a Kaaba of Taa'ef and
Scrolls of the Torah and scripts of the Quran
I follow a god of love wherever I turn
For love is my faith and my religion
The writings in Swahili say:
watoto wale wanacheza mchezo gani?
What game are these children playing?
Watoto hawa wanasikia njaa
Unafikiri wanagojea nini?
These children are hungry
What do you think they are waiting for?
Let us read
Barua ni nusu ya kuonana
Writing a letter amounts to half a meeting
Wanawake hawa wanauza nini?
What are these women selling?