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Visual Arts

Angels – A Story of Resilience, Hopes and Dreams
14th March 2019

New work by Laurence Payot, produced by ArtReach. Available for booking Autumn/Winter 2019 – 2020

By Maddie Smart

Angels is an artwork by Laurence Payot that celebrates the courage and optimism of displaced people. From sweet lullabies remembered from childhoods spent in another country, to the things that they makes them feel happy in their new homes, participants from across the UK will create a series of recorded visual and audio portraits reminding us all how we can cope with difficult situations and find strength in the things that comfort us.

The work will consist in a series of video portraits projected on urban, suburban and rural environments, talking to us, by surprise, in the most unexpected places.

Angels is funded by Arts Council, and created in partnerships with ArtReach and City of Sanctuary. It will be created in collaboration with refugees and asylum seekers from across the UK.

The initial video portraits will be created between March and May 2019, and presented at Journeys Festival International in Leicester, Manchester and Portsmouth, and in three Cities of Sanctuary between August 2019 and March 2020. We are now opening bookings for touring the work in Autumn 2019 and 2020 to share the stories with new audiences and gather more portraits along the way.

The artwork will consist in a series of evening public interventions. The video portraits created during the workshops will be projected onto buildings in cities or suburban areas, or on trees and natural landscapes in parks throughout the evening.


A specially designed projection-booth will consist of a box on wheels with a bright LED projector and sound system. It will be energy-sufficient with its own integrated battery, and mobile (technical drawings of the installation are available on demand). The projector has been tested in urban environment at dusk with great result. The maximum projected image size will be 6 meter high at dusk, up to 10 meters or more at night.

The mobile nature of the system will allow us to explore interesting ways to integrate portraits within the environment, using inventive techniques such as side-on or multiple-layer projections. It will allow us to be site- responsive and playful with each chosen location, giving each presentation a different aesthetic and different feel. Each evening, the work will move around the city, gathering audiences along the way. When projected on uneven surfaces, these angelic and ephemeral apparitions will appear as abstract splashes of colour, until the viewer faces them front-on. This will encourage people to stand together and exchange ideas, sparking much needed debates around immigration, and the blurring of home and borders.


In each city where the work is presented, artist Laurence Payot will work with existing groups and/or invite individuals to take part in a workshop session to generate ideas and content:

– Participants will be invited to create emotional maps of the world and maps of home using drawing, collage, words and photography.

– They will engage in group discussions and collective mind-mapping to share tips on how they cope with difficult situations and what helps them be strong.

– They will create posters of handwritten slogans with advise on how to staying resilient, optimistic and to keep dreaming, exploring different systems of writing through calligraphy.

– They will be invited to record a message in front of camera, a story or advise that they feel needs to be heard.

– They will collaborate with the artist to edit the recorded videos.

The messages will form part of a growing collection of video of portraits. They will be projected in the public realm in cities across the UK, reaching thousands of people. They will be recorded in a range of languages, some translated, some not, some only understandable to the minority of people speaking the language in which it is spoken.

The posters and drawings created during the workshop will be written in many languages. Participants will work with the artist to use turn their words into powerful calligraphic messages. These will become limited editions artworks available to purchase online as part of a campaign to support the project.

The initial engagement sessions will take place in Manchester and Leicester, and as we tour the work to new places, we will be able to connect with new organisations, meet new Refugees and Asylum Seekers and grow the archive of stories of the people that we have met along the way.

ArtReach, in consultation with Laurence Payot, will work with each host organisation/festival/gallery to define the most relevant sites for the projections. At times it may be presented in a busy city centre street, at other times, it may become a more intimate experience, projected in a small quiet street, somewhere were people would not expect to see it.

ArtReach will also support with marketing and promotion and in identifying groups to engage with. To secure a smooth running of the event, we would need your producer to secure permission for the defined routes and selected sites to be projected on, and reduce public streetlight on key buildings if possible.

Touring costs

Presentation over two evenings; includes one workshop to collect new video portraits: £1,500 + travel and accommodation

Presentation over one evening; includes one workshop to collect new video portraits: £1,000 + travel and accommodation

Additional workshops: £400 per workshop

Laurence Payot a cross-disciplinary artist, creating objects and events with and for people in order to create unusual moments of encounters. She aims to connect us with one another, from one-to-one interactions, to large collective moments of ‘togetherness’.

Her practice is responsive to people and places, mixing digital processes, light, sculpture and performance to create artworks in dialogue with their surroundings Her gallery work is often intimate, for two people to meet and connect (with works such as Living Sculptures Virtual), while her public performances tend to invite larger audiences to gather and celebrate their community in new ways (with works such as White Solstice, created for National Trust, where local people were invited to meet at sunset on the winter solstice to reflect on past and future memories, real and imagined).

Since winning the Sky Arts Ignition: Futures Fund in 2012 and being nominated for the Liverpool Art Prize, she has been commissioned and shown by renown galleries and organisations such as National Trust Formby, Tate Liverpool, Wellcome Trust, Bluecoat, and York Art Gallery amongst many others in the UK and abroad. Laurence Payot is constantly exploring new artforms to create works in response to new physical and social contexts, often working collaboratively with other professionals such as digital coder Ashley Brown, poet Scott Farlow, activist artist Ailie Rutherford, filmmaker Tim Brunsden.

For more information contact Maddie Smart Executive Producer, ArtReach // 0116 261 6882