STREET artist Foka Wolf has used lockdown and laughter to inspire his works at Compton Verney.
The Birmingham-based street artist has created eight folk art-style signs across the 120-acre ‘Capability’ Brown parkland, exploring humour and its connection to kindness.
The work is influenced by local people’s experience of social solidarity during lockdown and the role of humour as a tool for empathy and resilience.
To inspire the work, Janice Connolly, star of Peter Kay’s Pheonix Night’s and Britain’s Got Talent Star, held sessions to discuss what made them laugh during lockdown.
This was then used to create the works of art which have been commissioned by the gallery and arts organisation People United, which investigate kindness in the arts and how it affects behaviour.
Foka said: “Compton Verney was one of the first galleries I ever visited as a teenager, so I have fond memories of it. People United have been involved in some fantastic projects over the last decade that bring happiness and kindness through the use of art, and that to me is what art is all about, so naturally I was drawn to their call out.
“The submission guidelines could have been made for me – text based artworks using humour to help people be more empathetic and kind towards one another. I am really intrigued to see how this sort of work will be experienced in the parkland and to be able to see Compton Verney visitors’ reactions in the flesh, as usually my work is out on a road side. I am hoping to bring about some positivity through these installations and I can’t wait for people to see what we have created.”
Compton Verney chief executive Julie Finch said “At this momentous time we want Compton Verney to enhance wellbeing and creativity, fire the imagination, and be a place of solace – and this project is ideal for speaking to all that. We also want to support the creative economy and the region, so we are really delighted to have worked with Foka Wolf, a local artist, on bringing this project to life.”