This March the world celebrated International Women’s Day. In the lead up we sent postcards to the girls from the Baytree Centre and asked them to create mail art work responding to the theme set for this year’s celebration ‘Choose To Challenge.’
The postcards, inspired by the mail art movement from the 1960’s, asked the girls (ranging in age from 7-17 years) to draw, collage, write or paint on their postcard in celebration of women and to share their hopes for the future.
The Baytree Centre is a social inclusion charity for women and girls based in the heart of Brixton, South London. An integral part of the community since 1991, they provide holistic support through personal development activities and workshops, mentoring, coaching, as well as English classes and integration support for newly arrived migrant and refugees. Baytree’s Youth Service is committed to providing a safe, supportive space for girls, aged 6 to 20, to develop academically and personally.
Baytree places great importance on celebrating and cultivating creativity in young people. Their after-school and Saturday sessions are co-produced with the girls, to reflect their needs and goals. The sessions and workshops are designed for the girls to have fun, express themselves and discover their talents while building their confidence and resilience.
The girls have been taking part in many creative projects over the last few months including a mural and the ‘Glow’ Zine.
As part of their summer 2020 programme the Baytree Youth Team asked many young people what skills, activities and workshops they would like take part in. Many girls fed back that they would like to do a large artistic project to decorate the centre, one that was more challenging and allowed them to try out new skills. The girls were especially interested in creating a large mural that reflected what the centre meant to them. 8 girls came together to create a largescale mural across three days. They worked on both designing and planning the mural, as well as sketching and painting the mural onto the wall.
This project was a great opportunity for us to collaborate with a local spray paint artist Kayleigh Marshall who generously donated a large amount of art supplies to make this project possible. The girls also met with Polly and Binki from the Brixton Project, who helped the girls brainstorm the concept and discuss the power of mural art in conveying a message to the community at Baytree.
To create the ‘Glow’ Zine, the girls at Baytree took part in a 5-week photography programme with Photo Fusion, in the lead up to Christmas 2020. Each week the girls learnt about new techniques, including adaptations of the classic ‘school portrait’ and how to play around with conveying personality in a new and fun light with this traditional backdrop. Together, the girls used these photos to create a beautifully presented zine.
If you would like to support the Baytree Centre’s work, you can do so by donating. Now, more than ever, they need your help, to continue providing creative opportunities for girls in the community as well as offering vital support to women and girls in our community who have been hard hit by the wide-reaching effects of the global pandemic.