Void hosts work from seniors and invites kids to make video games

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Young people are being invited to come along to the Void gallery in Patrick Street this Saturday, June 18, to make their own video games based on the unusual subject of the 19th century trade in bird droppings from the Chincha Islands off Peru.

The initiative is part of the gallery’s engagement programme around ‘The Colony,’ a major new video installation by renowned Vietnamese artist Dinh Q Lê, which explores themes such as resource hunger, greed and imperialism, and runs until July 2.

The Guano Games Workshops are being conducted as part of the Void Engage programme by Derry Productions.

Aimed at children over 11, participants can create their own video game inspired by ‘The Colony’ and the guano trade using Game maker.

The sessions take place in The Process Room at Void on Saturday the June 18 and 25 between 2pm and 4pm.

Admission is free but pre-booking is essential as places are limited. Bookings can be made by contacting Void on 71 308080/E: sally@derryvoid.com.

Curated at Void by Maoliosa Boyle and Orla Ryan, Lê’s new work features newly filmed footage of the Chincha Islands off the coast of Peru, which are inhabited by large colonies of birds and rich in guano, a powerful fertiliser.

Currently these islands are uninhabited but during the mid 19th century the Chincha Islands were central to global markets and contested by Spanish, American and Peruvian powers in order to lay claim to what was then one of the most valuable global commodities.

At the height of the ‘Guano Rush’ thousands of bonded Chinese labourers were forced to live on these islands in brutal conditions to harvest the fertiliser.

The United States passed the Guano Act in 1856 and Spain and Peru went to war from 1864-1866 because of the Chincha Islands.

By revisiting 19th century imperialism and colonial economic disputes, Colony also poses questions in relation to contemporary conflicts over mineral exploitation.

Meanwhile, Void Engage has also delivered a unique contemporary art programme for older people under the Encouraging Relationships with Art (ERA) banner.

There were several strands to the ERA project which concentrated on the work of Anne Wenzel in the ‘Day Breaks, Night Falls’ exhibition, curated by Mhairi Sutherland. The learning team at Void welcomed hundreds of people into the gallery for guided tours and workshops, received training on how to become a dementia friendly gallery and began a subsequent programme of engagement with adults who live with dementia as well as focusing on the up skilling of local artists and the creation of a working group made up of older community stakeholders.

The project delivered over 25 visual art workshops joining five local artists with active age groups and Day Care Centres across the Derry City and Strabane council areas. Owen Mor Care Centre, Seven Oaks Care Centre, The Gasyard Mens Shed, Age Concern Causeway, and Ballylaw women’s group visited the gallery and took part in a guided tour of the Wenzel exhibition.

They then spent time with their artist deciding what sort of work they would like to make in response and agreed on a schedule of sessions to happen in their centres. Each artist then delivered workshops where they created mixed media artworks inspired by the Wenzel exhibition.

A group exhibition of the work created will be shown on Monday, June 20, 12.30- 3pm. All welcome, refreshments served, please RSVP to sally@derryvoid.com