H and J Block
In May of 2014, a community organisation based in the F2 Family Resource Centre in Rialto won the VoltAge Bursary from Age & Opportunity. They were awarded the grant so they could commence an arts project on the themes of Home, Place and Play, working mainly with older people in the community. The Stitch and Bitch group, an established knitting group in the centre, along with artist Sadhbh Lawlor took up the challenge to knit a piece of sculpture using their many and varied skills in textile techniques. This piece is one of three that was completed in Phase 1 of the project. It is a representation of H and J block of the old Fatima Mansions complex in Rialto. The area has been through a demolition and regeneration process over the last 12 years which has completely altered the physical landscape of the local environment and arguably, the fabric of the community itself.
Feelings about the old place of home are never far from the residents memories. The passion and commitment to recreating and completing this structure with as many accurate details as possible is a testament to our connection to a sense of place, to what feels like home and to the question of how to honour it when there is no longer a physical representation to connect with, to walk by or to touch.
In honour of the members of the knitting group, who had lived in the flats, who have said goodbye to their homes through the regeneration process, the knitting group pulled together as a whole to create this soft and textured ode to homes everywhere that can no longer be visited or reached.