Unusual scene at the Friday market in Béthune : three smart grey-haired Grannies, dressed-up in their old-fashioned outfits, come charging along amongst the stalls, sat on massive trolleys, with tacky tunes in the background.
’That’s what I need ! You stick your shopping in the trolley, sit on it and off you go !’, this old lady smiles, leaning on her walking stick, wearily pulling her own shopping bag. And the ’pink Granny’ kindly showing off the huge size of her trolley…
Granny Turismo from British company Larkin About walked about the traditional Friday market on Place Lamartine today. The public was amused - like this usual shopper insisting to give the Grannies her home-made saucisson - or sometimes blazéd - ’I prefer Mozart’, this old lady cuts short, obviously not overwhelmed by the Nannies’ disco beats -, but the show definitely made an impression : ’It’s nice to have this on the market, it was so calm…’, this stall-holder said.
Juggling with generations is also what the Z’arts Up Festival 2011 has achieved through their outreach initiatives. After Larkin About’s Grannies, Plunge Boom’s baby vegetables are introduced to Béthune residents. The 120 pupils from Pasteur Primary Year ?, ? and ? took part in a workshop led by Ben, the artist from British company Plunge Boom. But Ben didn’t just turn up on his own : he came to Béthune with his family…of vegetables ! From Margaret the asparagus, future ballerina, to Beverley, the 5 month old watermelon, the children have discovered the lovely vitamin-filled world of Vegetable Nannies.
Then Ben ran a ‘create-your-own-vegetable-family’ workshop with each class. The pupils, who then had to introduce their family to the rest of the children, were incredibly imaginative/creative : from thinking about their own family - ‘I named the watermelon Monique because she looks a bit like my auntie’ – to creating their family model from scratch - ‘These are baby twins potatoes and the mummy is the pineapple because it’s the tallest’ -, the primary school children have had a great time with Ben, while putting into practice their English skills.
A lovely exchange between these kids and the artist, encouraging the festival’s ambition to develop outreach between British artists and Béthune residents.