Future is Ours Festival / Artist Mentor Programme, The Horsfall

The Future is Ours Festival is a celebration of youth creativity and voice by The Horsfall, a young persons mental health wellbeing charity based in Manchester. It features the work of 9 young artists who collaborate with established artists to realise their creative ideas and create new pieces of public artwork.

This gives the young people the option to take the lead and truly have their say in how the work is made and in what medium. It also provides a learning opportunity to develop and learn new skills through supported mentoring from the practising artists. 

Every Part of Me 

by Mahdiyyah Ahmed with Sally Gilford

Mahdiyyah Ahmed and I worked together to create a new body of work which invites people into her personal world of daily journaling.

Exploring mixed media and scale, Mahdiyyah developed new artwork which originated from smaller handmade motifs and designs.

She finds solace in the process of making and whilst for her the pieces are incredibly intimate and personal, there is an anonymous nature which  means the viewer is encouraged to be immersed in their lively and adventurous form.

This is Me. 

Every Thought. 

Every Process. 

Every Memory. 

Every Emotion.

Every Part of Me. 

‘Using my journal as the starting point, I incorporate different mediums to create tactile and textural pieces.  

I am interested in exploring a variety of techniques and processes including illustration, collage, embroidery, painting, print and textiles.

My creative practice allows me to re-interpret my lived experiences in a way that remains anonymous yet very personal. It gives me the space to unravel, process and reflect.

My work is intuitive, experimental and intimate.

Working on this commission has given me the opportunity to learn new creative skills and techniques including screen printing, print design, textile manipulation and exhibition curation.  Learning the full process of creating artwork to installing an exhibition including all the behind the scenes work that goes into bringing projects like this to fruition – materials choices, budgets, installation plans, timescales, planning and much more.

Consistent support and encouragement from Sally has enabled me to trust her to help me create artwork on a larger scale which, initially was quite daunting, has become an incredibly exhilarating and liberating experience.’

Mahdiyyah and I have a shared passion for working with vibrant colour, textures and process so it has been great to really dive into that expressive and experimental side of our creative practice together. I sometimes neglect this way of working so it was great to share that with her.

I hope that our time working together will inspire her to continue on her creative journey.

Working with 42nd Street and The Horsfall on this project has further affirmed the dynamic work this organisation is doing to support the development of young people’s lives in Manchester.  Their role in the sustainability of the creative community of the city must not be underestimated. It has a profound impact on the future of young people and how they feel about themselves and their place in the city we live in.  The passing on and sharing of lived creative experience and being connected to others with whom you can relate to is essential. Without organisations such as The Horsfall and 42nd Street, it will be hard to imagine how this will be facilitated.