At Mrs Harris’ Shop, we enjoy a strong sense of community. It’s really important to us that our immediate community feels a sense of pride and ownership in what we do.
It is with great delight that we are hosting a very special exhibition – one which is a huge departure from anything we’ve ever done before and one to which that whole sense of community is essential.
Stories of when love made a difference grew out of a rising sense of concern about the ease with which people are finding fault with others, and responding with anger or hurt.
At its centre is the assumption that when it all boils down, we have a choice between love and fear.
As we set out to explore this, a question came that seemed to take us right where we needed t be. “What would love do?” asked in times of distress takes us quickly to our best selves. It’s been a journey to get here. The bus is our representation of this. Around 150 people joined us on the bus, making gifts for this exhibition, small expressions of their desire to see love rather than fear win the day.
They joined in at workshops in schools, community centres and at an array of ‘get-togethers’. The work they produced ranged from sophisticated designs to simple expressions of love, all on aluminium sheet, some bursting with colour, others relying on the beauty of the design for impact. Many are accompanied by the story that inspired them – some funny, others touching – but all expressing the importance of love, to us as individuals and as a community.
They ranged in age from under 8, up to 80 – established artists, children, talented craftspeople (including two CWA contingents) – and many others, just willing to ‘have a go’.
The exhibition is inspired by Pakistani buses and trucks that are covered in light reflective vinyl, cut to ornate patterns. On a dark night, on a mountain road, when headlights hit them, they explode into a radiant statement. This exhibition is our statement in the name of love, used not in small fuzzy kitchness, but in loud joyous recognition that it is what connects us together and to our best selves.
To Kate Simpson, for the original idea, Barb Donaldson, community instigator extraordinaire, Jane Greet, artistic director and colour queen – and their amazing band of helpers – thank you for the love, the wonderful exhibition, the happiness and colour that you have brought to Mrs Harris’ Shop with Stories of when love made a difference.
Proceeds from sales will be donated to Adam Goode’s Go Foundation.
Stories of when love made a difference is showing at Mrs Harris’ Shop on Saturdays and Sundays (11am – 3pm) until July 30.