Tea Culture

 
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GILES WATKINS
SCULPTURE & ENVIRONMENTAL ART- GSA '18

Tea Culture is an installation which invites participants to sit within a functional teahouse space, consisting of furniture and a tea set. The configuration differs based on location, in order to suit individual sites. By using techniques and decorative styles of the Victorian period (whilst questioning their reserved attitudes regarding mental well being), Giles has created a series of objects as conversation pieces. Visitors can have free and open discussions with one another in the intimacy of the designed space.

"I see tea (and the rituals around it) as a pre-existing engrained 'tool' that can break barriers of awkwardness, allowing people to connect in a positive light. I have never intended on directly guiding the resulting dialogue. Instead, I have aimed to create a particular kind of calm experience that might encourage a unique level of connection".

Participants have commented on the grounding peaceful nature of the events and have made repeated visits.

"My work is a response to social spaces such as cafes, parks and community centres, all of which hold an emphasis on communal exchange, with group activities like eating, reflection, and dialogue. I have recently been thinking about the notion of ritual and object, responding to the societal pressures of the digital age".

Tea Culture has been shown in alternative locations, out with the gallery space, including the Garnethill Multicultural Centre and The Project Cafe, Glasgow, focusing on repeating events in order to allow the work to become a meeting point, rather than a one-off art exhibition.

You can see more of Giles’ work by visiting gileswatkins.com or following him @giles_watkins.