In July 2022 artist Chad McCail was commissioned by Nexus through Sunderland Culture to produce a large-scale community-led mural for Millfield Metro Station.
McCail worked closely with Sunderland Culture to engage two community groups within and around Millfield, Sunderland to explore their experiences of living and working in Sunderland and their hopes for Sunderland in the future. McCail worked alongside Young Asian Voices (YAV) and Pallion Action Group over a period of 7 weeks between September – November 2022.
During this period the groups supported by McCail produced puppets and discussed Sunderland’s past, present and future.
Raj and Rani the Story
As the workshops at Young Asian Voices centre progressed the group developed characters, names and backstories for the puppets.
In October a script was devised and the time came to bring the script to life – puppet life. McCail returned to Scotland to produce backdrops and props for filming the puppet theatre story.
The filming took place over three days in November and tells the story of Raj and Rani’s arranged marriage and subsequent move to Sunderland to start a new life.
Watch below the ‘Raj and Rani’ video
This short film was produced by members of Young Asian Voices supported by artist Chad McCail. The film was developed out of the puppet making workshops held at Young Asian Voices’ community centre facilitated by Chad McCail.
The members of Young Asian Voices were:
- Abdul Baten Chowdhury
- Ashith Gounder
- Kusuma Nandini Kavya
- Mst Liza Begum
- Premraj Pichairaju
- Sabina Begum
- Sima Begum
- Syeda Sanzida Miah
- Thahir Ahmed
The Writings on the Wall
McCail moved back to Scotland and with the conversations about Sunderland still clear in mind started working on early sketches for the Millfield Metro Station mural in his studio.
The theme of the mural is community and the value of relationships. It will take the form of a storyboard which will wind across the wall telling a story in pictures.
While I was working in Sunderland it became apparent how much nostalgia there is for the industrial past and an understanding that there was then a more cohesive community life. In the story long dead miners and shipyard workers rise from their graves. They are shocked by what has become of their city and they inspire the residents to begin to create a better world. – Chad McCail
The story and sketches continue to develop with the mural due to be installed at Millfield Metro Station Summer 2023 with an accompanying exhibition of the project material opening alongside at Hills Art Centre.
More information about the Millfield Metro Station mural will be shared over the coming months so keep your eyes peeled!
About the artist
Chad McCail (born 1961 in Manchester) studied English at the University of Kent and obtained a BA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths, University of London in 1989. His solo exhibitions include: TOY, Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sunderland (2020); We are not dead, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow (2006); Food, Shelter, Clothing, Fuel, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore (2004); and Life is driven by the desire for pleasure, The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2003). His group exhibitions include Eye on Europe: Prints, Books and Multiples, 1960 to Now, MoMA, New York (2006); British Art Show 5, UK touring exhibition (2000); and Becks Futures, ICA, London (2000). He lives and works in Thankerton, South Lanarkshire.
About Young Asian Voices
Young Asian Voices (YAV) is an all-inclusive and multicultural youth and community organisation which works and supports young people as well as adults in the city of Sunderland. Since its inception in 1996, YAV has maintained a good structure and a management committee which oversees all project work.
YAV delivers over 40 sessions and works with over 450 members on a weekly basis developing young people and transforming diverse communities through sport, employability, training, culture, youth empowerment and volunteering driving integration, inclusion, and empowerment.
YAV provides youth sessions, junior sessions, holiday programmes, sporting opportunities, volunteering opportunities, talent pathways, employment opportunities and various educational training to young people and adults. YAV also has an excellent reputation for delivering quality youth work and staff development within diverse communities in Sunderland and it has a strong partnership working with city of Sunderland Council, other statutory and voluntary organisations.