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Good Morning Summer!

by | Apr 13, 2021

Kadir Armagan Aydin and Nese Aydin are mosaic artists from Turkey, human rights activists, asylum seekers and Swansea residents. They have contributed to many community arts projects and have been sharing their talents and training locals in the art of mosaic making. In the interview below they refer to how, since the start of lockdown, they miss everyday soundscapes, especially the sound of children playing which, for them, is the sound of freedom – a freedom that currently eludes them but which they dream of.

Interview with Armagan and Nese

Interviewer: Marie Gillespie for Cov19Chronicles:

MG:  What inspired you to make this beautiful mosaic Good Morning Summer?

KAA: Since Covid, we are all stuck at home. We don’t go outside. We are confined indoors. We are all feeling confined but what about children? The idea for the mosaic came to us one day as we were talking together and then, as we fell into a silence, we became aware of the quiet stillness outside. We listened. We continued listening but we could hear no voices, no birds, no animals, no children’s sounds. We began to realise how we especially missed the sound of children playing. 

N: You know, we missed life itself. Yes, life. Somehow children playing captured that sense of the life we were missing under lockdown. Usually when walking on the beach, we can hear children playing football, kids playing together, that joyful sound but everything was so quiet on that day.

KAA: This mosaic is our dream – our dream and hope that soon we will hear and see children playing games outside again. All children need that. Yes, they need to play. They need to go outside.  They need nature. They need fresh air. For one year they are shut in at home. Maybe they have a garden to play in.  Maybe not even a garden. They can’t go out to the beach. They can’t see any friends. And yes, while it may be boring for us adults, for children, Covid is terrible. They have so much energy but all that energy is being wasted. 

N: We decided to make a mosaic about children and for children and call it Good morning summer! 

KAA: I feel happy when I hear children playing. I’m happy because they are happy. No need for any words – just to hear children playing games is enough. 

N: Hearing children play is the sound of freedom. Children are free spirits. They should be free to play. 

KAA: They are like butterflies – free. And this country is very much like a butterfly – it offers some hope of freedom. Butterflies are colourful, energetic and free and children too are colourful, energetic and everywhere children should be free. This what we were thinking when we decided to make this mosaic.

MG: Thank you. That’s a lovely and inspiring thought. Can you tell us a little about the process of making the mosaic?

KAA: We need coloured glass to make the mosaics but under Covid it was very difficult to source the right kind of glass. We found an Internet company and we tried, oh easilu about 55 times to buy glass but never succeeded. 

N: Never, yeah, actually we couldn’t find lots of materials we needed because all stores were closed. And then some friends helped us find a store – and, you (Cov19Chronicles project) helped us. Then we found glass. 

KAA: The kind of glass we use is expensive. Limited colours are available. I use simple pliers, not professional glass cutters tools. We also used slate and stone.  It is very dangerous cutting and you have to be really careful with disposing the debris glass – like garbage powder, same the powers. 

N: Our living area is also our workshop. It is hard to work with only one table, one chair in one room so we work in blocks of time. Work, eat, rest, sleep and the same again the next day.

MG: Does your mosaic making help you cope with Covid?

N: Yes, it helps our health and our physical health because if you don’t do something creative in lockdown, life is very. Lockdown is difficult, it gets to you, everybody, not just us. But also we feel more intensely the waiting and waiting for our asylum claims to be processed, wating to know if we will find a point of freedom in our lives. But we also know we are more privileged than other people because we are healthy now though I did have Covid in February. 

KAA: We have a home. We have a garden and we can take fresh air. We can make mosaics, we can draw, we can read books. 

N: And actually we have so much time in this time. In some ways we have too much time but it can be good – time to do things you couldn’t before,  

MG: Nese, you made a mosaic of a bird of paradise – it’s lovely what was your thinking or feeling behind it?

KAA: We need coloured glass to make the mosaics but under Covid it was very difficult to source the right kind of glass. We found an Internet company and we tried, oh easily about 55 times to buy glass but never succeeded.

KAA: We need coloured glass to make the mosaics but under Covid it was very difficult to source the right kind of glass. We found an Internet company and we tried, oh easily about 55 times to buy glass but never succeeded. 

N: Never, yeah, actually we couldn’t find lots of materials we needed because all stores were closed. And then some friends helped us find a store – and, you (Cov19Chronicles project) helped us. Then we found glass. 

KAA: The kind of glass we use is expensive. Limited colours are available. I use simple pliers, not professional glass cutters tools. We also used slate and stone.  It is very dangerous cutting and you have to be really careful with disposing the debris glass – like garbage powder, same the powers. 

N: Our living area is also our workshop. It is hard to work with only one table, one chair in one room so we work in blocks of time. Work, eat, rest, sleep and the same again the next day.

MG: Does your mosaic making help you cope with Covid?

N: Yes, it helps our health and our physical health because if you don’t do something creative in lockdown, life is very. Lockdown is difficult, it gets to you, everybody, not just us. But also we feel more intensely the waiting and waiting for our asylum claims to be processed, wating to know if we will find a point of freedom in our lives. But we also know we are more privileged than other people because we are healthy now though I did have Covid in February. 

KAA: We have a home. We have a garden and we can take fresh air. We can make mosaics, we can draw, we can read books. 

N: And actually we have so much time in this time. In some ways we have too much time but it can be good – time to do things you couldn’t before,  

MG: Nese, you made a mosaic of a bird of paradise – it’s lovely what was your thinking or feeling behind it?

N: We really missed bird sounds. When I hear bird sounds, I feel better. Ah, I’m in paradise. Yeah, I feel free as a bird. I love birds. Actually, I love all animals and I miss stroking them and contact.

KAA: During Covid times we really miss using our sense of touch – touching cats and dogs as well as humans. The mosaics are tactile, a way connect us to the physical world, to the world of animals and children.

N: Yes, in this time actually birds are so free unlike us. Maybe I’m a little bit jealous of their freedom (laughs)!!!! That’s why I made this. 

KAA: In Covid times we are forbidden from touching. Don’t touch! Don’t touch partner! Don’t touch children! Don’t touch animals! We miss touch. We miss the simple handshake. We know it is so important that people touch each other and kiss and hug – it’s so important in our life actually. Mosaics in some ways reconnect us to our sense of touch.

N: Yes, we miss life. Normal life, normal life. 

MG: What are your plans for future mosaics?

KAA:We can’t wait to get back to finishing the five mosaic benches for Glyn Vivian Garden that we started before lockdown.

N: We hope after that we can make him big mosaic sofa or bench for Castle Square in Swansea (laughs). Castle Square is so dull, so grey actually.  So dark. We just dream maybe we can do it. We can make mosaic sofas and people can play music there, relax and drink coffee or eat something. We will make castle square full of colour with our mosaic and music. We could create a waterfall on the steps and make the wole public space come alive. I think all the people would say “oh very nice!” Yes, we want to see a colourful turn in Swansea.

KAA: We will also continue our mosaic training workshops with around 35 local students, asylum-seekers, Welsh-speakers, old and young people.  We have a very mixed, a very nice group but stopped because of Covid. 

We are hoping to develop the art of mosaic making in Swansea – after all Swansea is famous for glass art. We hope to be able to source beautiful glass, work with glass artists, do more workshops. We hope we can do these things in the future

MG: Thank you. lovely to talk to you.

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