art-in-unusual-places-poster-2Mahlia Amatina, a conceptual artist from Reading, has been selected to receive funding from Reading’s Cultural and Educational Partnership for her participation in the ‘Art in Unusual Places’ initiative during the town’s Year of Culture celebrations.

Amatina is in the process of developing an art installation of 80 washing line photos from 80 different countries – a project based around humanity and the similarities between us as human beings. It was inspired by prayer flags she observed strung along the mountains of the Himalayas and an extension of her thought process behind the painting ‘Look! They Also Dry Their Clothes!’ displayed at her ‘Kathmandu Calling!’ exhibition.

The Cultural and Educational Partnership funding has allowed Amatina to run community workshops designed to reading-community-group-alafia-acre-discussing-laundry-2inspire Reading residents of different cultures to participate in discussions relating to Amatina’s ‘washing line’ art. Amatina states that she has “thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to explore culture and diversity in the local community, and seeing how residents relate to the universally accepted notion of laundry.”

Six photos have been selected, printed onto laundry items and displayed in laundrettes around Reading (Dots Laundry, The Washbox and Suprema Dry Cleaners in Caversham) for two months. Amatina believes that this is a “great opportunity to make art more accessible to people by bringing it into the community”.

Launderettes have recently gained a ‘retro’ appeal among residents of the UK and are becoming popular gathering places where customers can enjoy a wide range of amenities from art exhibitions to cocktail bars while they do their laundry. While there were about 12000 launderettes in the UK in the 1970s, this number has now diminished to around 3000. Amatina’s social art project will likely add to the renewed interest in Reading’s launderettes while also inspiring spirited and thoughtful conversation around her art installation.

Amatina is currently seeking support for her social art project ‘Around the World in 80 Washing Lines’. The aim is to exhibit all 80 photos from 80 countries, along with their stories, and form a fully immersive art installation and experience for all ages.

MORE: Named as a 2015 UK Trust Award finalist, Amatina has had her work displayed at The Hermitage Gallery in Amsterdam, Alliance Healthcare, the NHS, Art Scope Gallery, Reading Town Hall, Jelly Conversation Space, Watlington House Hall, as well as a variety of outdoor venues. For more information about project ‘Around the World in 80 Washing Lines’ and its next steps, please visit http://www.mahliaamatina.com/#!project-washing-lines/l0h38