Future Fires is a programme that supports young artists to develop a socially-engaged art project in their own community.
Every day this week we are introducing each member of our#FutureFires20 cohort who will be #SupportedByContact for the next 12 months to create a project that will use their artistic skills to make a difference in the community.
Audrey Albert, 29 years young
Celebrating Chagossian culture and telling Chagossian history by bringing together different generations of Chagossians – based in Wythenshawe
The idea is to collect stories and objects from the older members of the community and create artworks and art pieces with them by the younger members of the community through creative workshops. All of the artwork will then be exhibited during a one-day event (a Chagos Day), where Chagossians food, music and dance, and (maybe) artisanal handicraft will be showcased.
Chagossians are a forcefully displaced people who lost their homeland as a result of post-colonisation. My grandma and granddad are from and grew up on the Chagos Archipelago.
I also always thought it was unfair for the Chagossian community to have their story not be known by a majority of people in the UK and I wanted to add my contribution on this level with my art and photos.
I also realised a few years ago that I always try and find a piece of home through my work, and being around the Chagossian community brings this sense of home to me in the UK. There is something very uplifting about speaking your native language to other people who also speak it, in a foreign country.
If you had to sum up your project in five words, what would they be?
Legacy, culture, art, history and heritage
What motivated you to start your project?
Curiosity mostly. I wanted to find out more about my mixed origins – my ancestors. What they did, how they lived, what they ate, the music they made and the objects they used on a daily basis. I am fascinated by stories and objects.
How are you finding the Future Fires programme so far?
I am loving it, and it is genuinely the best thing to have happened to me this year. Not to sound overdramatic or anything! I never understood when people said things like ‘such a year was the worse one for me’ or ‘x was such a bad year’, because I did not get how a year could be ‘bad’. I tend to easily forget things, and just move on but this year made me understand the meaning of having a bad year the hard way! The good thing is the programme. I have met some amazing people, I am learning some great and new things and I am really enjoying the whole process.
Okay, so the questions our audience are dying to know…
You are locked in Contact for a week with ONE person, who would you choose and why?
I thought of Patti Smith to sound cool, but I think I’d really like to be locked in Contact with my grandma. She’s amongst the people I miss the most being far from home, and she always has the best and funniest stories! It’d be the perfect moment to overindulge in her memories, and find out more about hers and my grandad’s childhood!
Favourite place to eat?
ALL THE FOOD. Very hard to choose. But I could eat sushi all day every day. My go to place is this little Japanese takeaway/tiny restaurant called Japan Deli in Withington, not even 5 minutes away from where I live. I always go there as a treat, when I have great news, or if I have had a bad day. The couple who own it are lovely, always up for a chat and the whole place is cosy, and welcoming. It always makes me feel good walking in or out of Japan Deli! When my little brother came to visit earlier this year, it’s the first place I took him to for lunch. The food is really affordable and yummy.
Favourite quote or motto?
I don’t have one. I tend to have phases where I get obsessed with a song, a book, a poem or an article, and go over it over and over again during this phase. At the moment with everything going on in the world it is this song by Counting Crows called ‘Round Here’ and I absolutely love those lyrics:
Round here we always stand up straight
Round here something radiates
Round here we’re carving out our names
Round here we all look the same
Round here we talk just like lions, but we sacrifice like lambs
Anything else you’d like to add?
A smile? 🙂
You can follow Audrey’s project on Instagram here.
Visit our Future Fires page to learn more about the project as a whole.