Saturday, 20 December 2008

942 - Ox

'The Festival of the Whitley Great Ox'. Saturday March 28th next year.

According to yesterday's News Guardian, a life-size model of Whitley's Great Ox is to be created out of flowers and, on the day, paraded through the streets to the ground where, in the 1780s, it used to graze. The Ox was famous in its day. Thomas Bewick drew it.

In the run-up to the festival, school children are being asked to compose poems about the Ox. Michael Rosen, the Children's Laureate and poet, will judge the poems. And the children will be drawing scenes of the procession too. Keith Barrett, an environmental artist charged with directing art projects around North Tyneside, has been instrumental in guiding the development of the festival. More information about the festival, and the fabulous illustration above, can be found in the News Guardian here (from whose site I've filched the picture).

I love this. It's doing what I want to do - taking a true story and mythologising it to celebrate the meaning at its heart. Using that meaning to bring a community together, to create new stories in its wake.

Letting imagination run wild, in three hundred years' time think what such a festival could have become! I'll be following this story with very great interest.

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