Camden Paisley captures stories and memories of a universal pattern

As part of Camden Kalã, Project Paisley, programmed by Quiet Down There, invited the Camden community to take part in creating a Paisley design in workshops led by artist Saj Fareed. The designs inspired ‘Camden Paisley’ a unique artwork for Swiss Cottage Library by Saj Fareed. Through a kaleidoscope of colour and pattern, ‘Camden Paisley’ represents the social fabric and vibrant communities that make up the borough. 

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Installation view, 2017. Image (c) Lucy Henfield 

‘Camden Paisley’ is a new artwork by artist Saj Fareed inspired by stories, designs and memories shared in summer workshops across the borough. The pattern has its origins in Persia and India and was later imported from Kashmir to the Scottish town of Paisley where it gets its familiar name. This fir cone shaped pattern has been adopted by many cultures, fashion eras and ages and as such represents a universal symbol, which can be found at once in the fabric of grandma and granddad’s curtains and at the same time in the bandana of a punk rocker. Paisley is very much an all-pervasive pattern and this summer it was the starting inspiration for exploring what a Camden Paisley design may look like. 

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Image (c) Lucy Henfield 

“The conversations and memories shared in the Project Paisley workshops have shaped the artwork at Swiss Cottage Library. These conversations were incredibly revealing and personal, I felt honoured that participants were happy to share their memories and experiences with me. In turn, I was pleasantly surprised by the many layers I uncovered in my own family and memories. The project became more of a personal and emotive experience for me.”

- Saj Fareed, Project Paisley artist

The artwork was launched by Camden Mayor Andrew Cotton with a celebration afternoon tea at Swiss Cottage Library which brought together workshops participants, friends and family.

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Mayor Richard Cotton and artist Saj Fareed, 2017. Image (c) Lucy Henfield 

Speaking about the project, Mayor Andrew Cotton said:

“Camden Paisley is the fruit of the labour of many people, living, working or visiting Camden. The Paisley design, like Camden itself, embraces all faiths and cultures and is intergenerational because it appeals to all age groups.”

See Camden Paisley for yourself in all its colourful glory at Swiss Cottage Library till 6th November and discover your own connection to this sprawling pattern of memories.