A collaborative piece of artwork created by a group of local artists was unveiled at Chatham Library this week by the Mayor of Medway, Marian Nestorov with Councillors Vince Maple, Leader of Medway Council and Harinda Mahil, Portfolio for Medway Heritage,Culture and Leisure also in attendance. The event was part of Medway Culture Fest 24 - a year-long programme of events and activities celebrating Medway’s people, place and stories.  

A collective of local Medway artists, Sue Elvin, Trish Fairchild, Sian Ford, Andree McDade, Simon Mills, Leah Schofield and Claire Tulppo, working together under the title of ‘Offshoot’, meet regularly  in a space kindly provided by Irina Fridman, Business Services Manager of Medway Libraries at Chatham library, where they exchange and discuss ideas or work together, and individually, on art projects.

Earlier in the year the artists decided it would be interesting, and perhaps a challenge, to carry out a piece of collaborative work – a painting – the subject matter of which could relate to the library.

An image of the library was taken and split into several sections which were allocated at random to each artist, who worked on their individual pieces, in their own styles, not seeing what each other was doing. Once the individual strips were finished, they were glued together – to produce an image of the library – seen in a completely different way!

The artists decided that the piece would be given to the library as a thank you for giving them a space in which to work and the finished artwork was kept a mystery until it was unveiled, to much delight and appreciation.

The artists chose to donate profits from the sale of prints of the work and bookmarks of the individual strips of the painting, to Coram Beanstalk. 

What better way, in celebrating a library than supporting the work Coram Beanstalk does in helping children to enjoy reading; and as our group of artists, comprise of teachers, parents and grandparents, we realise the importance of encouraging reading from an early age.

Andree McDade, one of the artists involved

Details of how to purchase prints or bookmarks can be found via Medway Library on [email protected] and the full collaborative artwork can been seen at Chatham Library, Community Hub Chatham, Dock Road, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4TX.