US Sculptor Unites a London Community with His "Stars Like Dust"

The UK Charity Kickstart Initiatives for Community Kids, KICK, commissioned US sculptor Raj Dagstani to design an artwork that would be iconic to the Southall neighborhood in London while reflecting the cultural diversity of the Dormers Wells community. "I believe we've achieved that," says Mr Dagstani, "better yet, the students at Dormers Wells have achieved it, together with our help and with the generosity of Dr Ahluwalia and his charity, KICK".

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Stars Like Dust

Stars Like Dust at Dormers Wells

These children were operating under the context that if they had the courage to give it their everything then something monumental might occur...

Denver, CO (PRWEB) February 11, 2014

On Thursday February 6, 2014, the Mayor of Ealing, Kamaljit Dhindsa, together with the staff and students of Dormers Wells High School welcomed American sculptor, Raj Dagstani, back to London for the unveiling of his sculpture, “Stars Like Dust”. The sculpture is the culmination of a collaborative and multicultural process, which began as the vision of Head Teacher Margaret Aylott. Dormers Wells enlisted alumnus Dr Kanwardeep Ahluwalia for guidance and funding through his charity Kickstart Initiatives for Community Kids, KICK. Mr. Ahluwalia, in turn, commissioned Colorado based sculptor Raj Dagstani to design an artwork that would be iconic to the Southall neighborhood while reflecting the cultural diversity of the Dormers Wells community. "I believe we've achieved that," says Mr Dagstani, "better yet, the students at Dormers Wells have achieved it, together with our help and with the generosity of Dr Ahluwalia and his charity, KICK".

Mr Dagstani conducted a weeklong sculpture workshop with 97 high school students at Dormers Wells High School. The hands-on workshop used theatrical exercises and intensive group critique pushing each student to build his own large-scale cardboard sculpture. It culminated in an exhibition of the students’ work. Mr Dagstani synthesized the ideas and the imagery represented by these students and arrived at a permanent sculpture that is described as a double archway bound by a galaxy of stars. It stands eight feet tall and is a continuous shape using the repeated motif of the 6-pointed star, used regularly as a symbol of Islamic, Christian, Jewish and Hindu faiths. The final effect is of a passageway composed of stars which viewers can interact closely with. “Stars Like Dust is a sculpture that celebrates the giving of everything for a cause and the expectation of the same in return,” says Mr Dagstani. “These children were operating under the context that if they had the courage to give it their everything then something monumental might occur and in fact, something monumental did occur.”

Now that it is installed another phase of interaction will begin. Students under the guidance of Dormers Wells art teachers Laila Ahmed, Timothy Laydon and Sarah Davies will make stars in glass and other media to insert into the hundreds of star shapes cut into the steel. This sculpture will be a monument to constant change and to the influence of Southall's multicultural community as reflected in their vibrantly diverse youth.

“Stars Like Dust” was realized in computer-cut corten-steel by Barnacle Bros. Sculpture and Custom Fabrication in Los Angeles, California.

A visual record of the project can be seen at http://www.starslikedormers.com.


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