It tells the story of a fictional version of Thamesmead where only children live with no memories of their ancestors, set 70 years in the future. The title ‘The Brightness of Juju’ is taken from one of the colour names in the book.
Over the course of three years (2020 – 2022) the school children involved in the co-creation of the book participated in more than 30 workshops with artists Dunya Kalantery and Rima Patel.
“There was a basic idea of what we wanted to get out of the workshops. But what the magic of that was, and what form the workshops would take, was really informed by the ideas of the children,” said Dunya.
“After each of the workshops we’d have vast quantities of extraordinary material,” said Rima. “We really felt like we were being gifted with something.”
Alongside the book is a permanent sculpture which hangs from the ceiling of the Nest library. It was gradually created over several months by the school children who gathered ‘treasure’ from the local area which was used for its construction. Pigments from objects like windscreen wipers, bottle tops and flip flops were ground, grated, cut and soaked to make the colours used in the sculpture.
Be sure to visit the Nest library to see the sculpture in person and to read the book.
Find out more about the project here.
The Brightness of JuJu was commissioned by London Borough of Bexley as part of the Creative Knowledge Project: a three year engagement project in the lead up to the opening of the Nest library. It was funded by Arts Council England, with support from Peabody, Bow Arts and TACO!