Installations are causing a stir across the borough

Ryan Robinsons banner on the Grand Arcade
Ryan Robinsons banner on the Grand Arcade

Young people behind an artistic project that has caught the attention of thousands of residents across the borough have spoken of their thrill at the public reaction to their work.

The art project called: ‘What I want more than anything else’ has seen bold statements by 13 to 25-year-olds displayed on large banners in prominent places over the past five months.

Always be happy outside the Turnpike in Leigh. Pictures by Simon Webb

Always be happy outside the Turnpike in Leigh. Pictures by Simon Webb

The artworks, created with international artist and Turner Prize nominee Mark Titchner, have prompted significant reaction.

Bethan Griffiths, 17, a pupil at St John Rigby College, created a piece which hangs on the entrance to the car park of the Grand Arcade.

It states: “I want world peace, universal healthcare, no oppression, no prejudice, no poverty”.

Bethan said she has been delighted by the response: “It was undoubtedly much bigger than I had anticipated,” she said. “From people who had seen it and wanted to know more, to my friends taking selfies outside it.

Sophie Careing working on a mural at The Turnpike

Sophie Careing working on a mural at The Turnpike

“The public reception gave me a great sense of achievement and rounded the project off perfectly for me.”

Perhaps the most seen artwork out of the whole exhibition was created by Ryan Robinson, 13, from Wigan.

His huge banner is up on the top of the Grand Arcade car park and is seen by thousands of motorists on Riverway every day. It states: “I want to be singer when I am older because I like singing.”

All the artworks are in the handwriting of the children.

Ryan admitted he was a bit overwhelmed by the prominence of his work.

“I feel slightly embarrassed about my words going up in a giant banner, as I am not used to the attention.

“I put my jumper over my head when I heard how big it was and where it was going.

“Using my handwriting makes the artwork part of me.”

Other works include the statements: “I want to always be happy” and “I want in the future a good job, preferably as a paramedic” to “I want an iPhone 7 in jet black” and “I want a dog because they are great”.

Councillor Jenny Bullen, Wigan Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “This exhibition has certainly grabbed the attention of the public since it has been on display.

“It communicates ideas and is an inspiration to all of us.

“The voices of children and young people are too often overlooked in our society so it is fantastic that the statements are writ large in our town centre and presented in very powerful and individual ways.”

The artworks will be on display until December 31, and some pieces will remain longer.

‘What I want more than anything else’ by Mark Titchner is part of Networked Narrative, an arts partnership led by FACT (Foundation for Arts and Creative Technology) in Liverpool with Wigan’s Inspiring healthy lifestyles, Lancashire County Council and Hull Culture and Leisure Library Service.

Networked Narrative aims to empower young people with art and technology to empower, working in libraries and communities across the North.

For more information about the ground-breaking project, visit: fact.co.uk/networked-narrative