20 November 2007 - 31 December 2007
The poet Subhadassi was the Foundling Museum’s writer-in-residence throughout the autumn of 2007. He took stories from the Museum as a starting point for his own writing, and used them to inspire local students and residents to create their own unique work, combining text, photography and performance.
A selection of works by Subhadassi, students at Westminster Kingsway College and La Sainte Union School, and young people from Somers Town involved with the project Scene and Heard can be seen below.
Subhadassi was commissioned to write a new piece of work inspired by his time at the Foundling Museum:
And Jesus said unto him,
The foxes have holes,
And the birds of the heaven have nests;
But the Son of man
Hath nowhere to lay his head.
In the old café
he couldn’t assume that anyone
would understand what he wanted to say;
how vowels fell out of his open mouth.
Through the window
he watched shadows on the plane trees spread upwards
as October sun bent towards Heathrow.
A tarnished bronze disk:
St Ethelburga and St Swithin.
Orphan of time and place
he sat in the sibilance of six o'clock news;
read a worn-out newspaper in greasy air.
The waiter ministered to his needs.
The food was typical and fast.
A squashed silver thimble;
initials inscribed in mother of pearl.
He chewed amid the ebb and flow of sirens
knowing his hunger would never be sated.
It got him up, walked him out
into the streets – that time of day
when pavements never seemed wide enough.
Some of the rush flowed underground.
Pink silk heart;
Bright red wooden box.
His thoughts darkened doorways
shadowed with cigarette butts,
sleeping bags, cardboard boxes.
He made it to a bus stop, waited for his number.
There were so many reasons
he thought himself lucky.
Six cut glass drops;
a key without a lock.
At the end of his toil he found a threshold
and crossed it.
Met by a smile in a place
that he would, for a while, call home.
ESOL students from Westminster Kingsway College worked with text and images to create a stunning exhibition for the Foundling Museum Café, hosted November-December 2007. The images from the exhibition are reproduced here.
Foundling Tales was part of the Arrivals programme; a major events programme celebrating the opening of St Pancras International and the arrival of the first Eurostar. The project was managed by literature consultancy UrbanWords.
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