I AM GOVANHILL; Public art project

Govanhill Voice asked Nadine Gorency of Rags to Riches about their new project to brighten up the streets of Govanhill.

IAMG Poster copy

Hi Nadine can you briefly out line what the project is?

‘I Am Govanhill’ is a public art project involving a series of upcycling workshops aimed at creating visual installations to celebrate our community cultural diversity.
The artworks has been created with found objects and discarded plastics. They will be mounted on lampposts along Govanhill’s main traffic axes. This bright and colourful project will reinforce the more positive aspects of our community. Too many people think Govanhill is a bad place full of bad people but that isn’t the case. We have so many good folk here and diversity is a good thing. Diversity should open minds and hearts, and we want to celebrate this with an array of colours and textures.

A concept sketch of how the art will be attached and a view of how they will look on the streets themselves.

Who are you working with on this project and what areas will it cover?

We are working with Shawlands Academy, Friends of Romanolave and Govanhill Housing Association in order to engage with a wider network of people who live, work or have connections with Govanhill. Working within our outreach provisions, we took some of the workshops to people rather than people coming to us along with our in-house workshops in Govanhill Baths. We are also part funded by ASDA Carrier Bag Community Grant, which uses the proceeds of 5p sales on carrier bags to donate to local charities and art projects. This actually ties in nicely with the ethos of this project.

Workshop participants in Govanhill baths, Shawlands Academy pupils and Govanhill Housing Association participants.

I know you have done a few murals in this style. Where did the inspiration for the lamp signs come from? I seen a few at ‘Streetlands’ a few years back was that its inception point?

The project ‘I Am Govanhill’ initially involved making upcycled textile flags and was developed for the Commonwealth Games back in 2014 but we were unsuccessful with our funding bid. We were really keen to see this project come to life, so we applied again to Glasgow City council,’Glasgow Life’s Vibrancy Fund ‘Cultures and Faiths’  strand and were successful. We were also able to get match funding from ASDA and BEMIS.’
We at Rags to Riches have a passion for working with waste and we see beauty and usefulness in discarded objects and rubbish. We are also keen to also make people aware of what they throw out and how these things can potentially be re-used, and with a little imagination given another lease of life. It would be great if we lived in a world where we didn’t have access to all this rubbish but it is there. People need to be made aware that we can’t carry on consuming and throwing things out as we do. All of our public art projects are, we hope, subtle and rather beautiful reminders.

Some of the recycled materials used in the project.


Are you planning a launch event? How long are they going to stay up? Are they a permanent feature?

The launch event will take place on Thursday 24th March from 2pm to 3:30pm outside LIDL where we will unveil some of the artworks with another indoor event at the baths from 4pm to 6pm with presentations and a world buffet.
We plan to have the work installed from early April with the help of Glasgow City Council’s Roads and Lighting Department. They will be in situ for around 6 months and take them down before the Scottish winter takes hold. We might get them out again in the spring just like hanging baskets!

Do you have any other workshops that people can take part in running at the moment also?

We have a series of workshops currently running such as soft toys, cable spool stools and furniture upcycling, which we are currently half way through delivering.
The ‘Let’s Make It’, our upcycled textile enterprise starts back on Monday 14th March from 9:45am to 1:30pm. We will be running ‘This Is Not A Fashion Show’ making workshops which is part of the Southside Fringe and these are open to anyone who wants to create an upcycled outfits for one Glasgow’s most unusual catwalks.
Our other project ‘Furniture for the Future’ is also coming up and we plan to make upcycled furniture for the local schools’ playground.
All of these are in the Govanhill Baths ‘What’s On’ brochure and also on our website.

What is the best way for people to get in touch for more information?

People can get in touch with us is via email on ragstoriches@govanhillbaths.com or phone 0141-433-2999

This project is supported by Glasgow Life ‘s ‘Vibrancy Fund: Cultures and Faiths’, ASDA Carrier Bag Community Grant and BEMIS.

If you would like your community group, activity or business to have a feature article please get in touch with Lisa at lisacraigphoto@googlemail.com tel; 07903152283.
For those interested I also have an independent blog if you wish to check it out;
and my photo website;

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