2009 – 10: Torange Khonsari

Torange Khonsari is a member of public works, an art and architecture collective working to create public spaces. The collective’s focus is the production and extension of public space through participation and collaboration. Projects vary in scale and address the relationship between informal and formal aspects of a site. public works produce social, architectural and discursive spaces as well as physical structures, products, public events and publications.

Khonsari’s project explored an existing condition in schools where departments operate in isolation. Angela’s Secret Garden occupied an abandoned area in the school grounds. Transformed into an in-between space, it encouraged a collaboration and exchange hosted by the art department. Building on the strong history and tradition of gardens and gardening in the school, Khonsari worked with Year 12 pupils and the school gardener to design and develop this space as a garden for growing plants to be used as dyes. Students incorporated display areas and a messaging board into the design, in order to encourage dialogue and activity in this attractive and appealing place.

Past Events:

School Project: Contested Spaces
Stoke Newington School & Sixth Form
St Angela’s Ursuline School
A second inspiration was the exhibition Where Three Dreams Cross: 150 Years of Photography from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh at the Whitechapel Gallery, winter 2010. Ania Bas and Torange Khonsari investigated with young people how fluctuating political, social and geographic borders or boundaries affect the ways an area and its population can be seen. Contested Spaces engaged pupils in an exploration of their own geographic, spatial and social territories. 

Opening event: Artists in Residence
Whitechapel Gallery
Wednesday 16 June 2010 4-6pm
(free, booking essential)
Celebrate with participants the culmination of this year’s residency with performances, film screenings and events in the Whitechapel Project Galleries and Education studios.

Artists in Conversation: Contested Spaces with Ania Bas and Torange Khonsari (Public Works)
Whitechapel Gallery
Thursday 17 June 2010, 7pm
(free, booking essential)
What makes a school a ‘contested space’ and how can it be a site of activity and enquiry? Special talk with the artists.

Angela’s Secret Garden: Open Day
Tuesday 6 July 2010
St Angela’s Ursuline Convent School
(free, booking essential)
Pupils demonstrate drawing with flower and vegetable dyes made from plants grown in their garden. Take home a lavender pouch made from sari remnants from stores in nearby Green Street. Browse fanzines and a map describing Angela’s Secret Garden’s journey as a contested space within the school. Instant postcards will be produced of you in the garden to send to a friend.