Today was looking through all my back log on social media and was happy to see a project we helped with in 2010.
The story started on a Tuesday afternoon when a nice lady popped in to try and find her husband some work. I explained our riders were all self-employed, so yes he would be welcome to work with us.
A few days later Lourival Cuquinha, her husband came for the training, he was a thin build, very smily but spoke mostly pidgin English. We managed to get through the days training and he launched himself into the westend with a huge grin.
On his first day came back with just over £12, which was low but he was grinning from ear to ear. Over the next few days he improved greatly and finally started to earn enough to pay rental for his families flat.
On speaking with him, it turned out he was an artist and from this we started to just chat about his work, in part to improve his English but also to start thinking on an art project he had in mind.
I think it took two years before he finally had a strong project in mind. The first was a flag which would be made from the money he earned as a rider, which became the ‘union jack pound flag’.
The 2nd was a more elaborate installation which involved 3x scrap pedicabs which had been dumped by the owner on us at Bugbugs.
The flag project went slowly but surely and was only disrupted when he had a big bill to pay. To make up the loss of flag material he sold parts of the flag as shares to fellow riders, like myself and used the ‘investment’ to complete the flag. The flag was entered in an arts festival and became the top selling item at £17,000. The story’s which were attached to the flag were also amazing, as the £1000 he had sown it together with, took months of work.
The 2nd project, was in my view the most empowering, as it involved recycling which I’m very fond of.
The three front loading trikes had been dumped, along with a number of others, which in a large part we managed to give to schools as engineering projects, a world record attempt by Tim Moss and this art project by Lourival.
As a rider he spent many days cycling looking for customers and he was amused at how for the most part the work was a form of entertainment.
So one day he approached me and asked wether I would help him to assemble three trikes in a circle and if we could power a mirror or projector to rotate an image.
After much work, cleaning, fixing and welding, we found a way to secure and get operational three trikes.
By peddling the viewer would creat power to get a motor to run a mirror mounted on a wheel, which would project an image, which would in turn be of a camera on a wheel traveling in a Rickshaw.
I’ve now sean this project reach it’s goal of having traveled to Brasil and on show at one of the galleries. Amazing what a dream can do, with a little help and opportunity.