This Pride month, Elephant is proud to support young artists aged 9-15 from our local community in West London. Adorning the front wall of Elephant Space (formerly known as Elephant West) are posters chosen from an open submission competition led by Elephant in conjunction with Hammersmith & Fulham’s youth council.
Together we invited visual responses to the subject of LGBTQ+ history, with winning designs touching on ideas of community, inclusion, family and gender binaries. In Malachi John’s poster, a waterfall is shown overflowing with rainbow colours, which he describes as “representing everyone in the LGBT community.” One small figure stands before the water, “feeling lonely and isolated”, but, “the waterfall is the hope that things are changing.”
Entries came in a variety of mediums, going beyond pen and paper to encompass large-scale collaborative works. Love Is Diversity, for instance, is a work created by 60 school kids between 7-8 years old, with each pupil using oil pastels to create hearts set on contrasting background squares.
“Pupils discovered that colours opposite each other on the colour wheel made each other brighter when side by side”
The colours were then blended together to reflect the way that the mixing of different cultures and backgrounds is vital to progressive inclusion. “Pupils discovered that colours opposite each other on the colour wheel made each other brighter when side by side,” teacher Nicola Chance explains. “We felt that this was like our world, that we are better when we are with people who are different to us.
Three of the posters have been presented with special Elephant Awards. Nine-year-old Jonah Hearn won his for creating a polymer clay, cardboard and acrylic paint sculpture that was photographed for his poster. In his work colourful clay figures stand together. “We live together side by side regardless of our similarities or differences,” the young artist says. “Our world should be like a big house for all of us.”
“We live together side by side regardless of our similarities or differences. Our world should be like a big house for all of us”
In Zainab Zidan’s winning submission, titled Breaking Barriers, she used collage to represent the potential for non-binary identities and gender fluidity. “I have taken different parts from women and men and combined them to show anyone can be who they want to be,” she says. Holly Tedla also explored gender expression and diversity in her winning work.
The three Elephant award winners will receive a selection of art materials, a set of Elephant paints, a cash prize from construction company Kier and an optional mentoring session.
All of the posters can be viewed at Elephant Space on Wood Lane, alongside quotes and reflections from the young artists.