SamiArt – At Whitehall House for SNW

Whitehall Historic House

Whitehall House is an exhibitions centre in Cheam, Surrey, holding local art exhibitions and displays.

With the current pandemic restrictions in place, the centre has had to close its doors, forcing some re-thinking of how to present these amazing artists works to the public. Recently one such exhibit was a display of art from local artist  Samia Tossio (SamiArt) entitled “A Good Yarn” which is the fruition of  a collaboration between local artist Samia Tossio & Sutton’s Heritage Team, showcasing the culmination of work she created as a result of a 2020 Culture Seeds grant. .

However, whilst the physical exhibit isn’t available to visit, Samia, Sutton’s Heritage Team and Whitehall Historic House have decided to continue on by sharing images and stories from the project over the coming weeks.  (You can find some of these here).

In addition, they are extending the dates for the exhibition so that visitors will still have the opportunity to see the displays in person when they are able to re-open.

About Samia

Sutton based artist Samia Tossio, launched A Good Yarn project in May 2019  along with storyteller Andy Copps. These workshops aimed to demonstrate the common bonds we share and the essential need for humanity, kindness and balance in life.

These initial workshops helped form the basis of a successful application to the Mayor of London Culture Seeds grant programme, which enabled Samia to run additional workshops with two homeless charities, one of which was Sutton Night Watch.  During these workshops Samia used finger knitting to help participants feel at ease to connect with others, share their stories and experiences and to relax and be in the moment.

The Exhibition

As well as a selection of textile pieces created by Samia, the exhibition also presents audio recordings and video documentary, featuring stories from workshops held with Sutton Night Watch and 2 other charities.

A main feature of the exhibition is an art installation which uses a Sleep Pod as the central focus with a vibrant finger knitting feel to it, with pieces of the art placed around & on the Sleep pod. Influenced by stories shared during these workshops, this work poses the question, ‘What does ‘a roof over our heads’ or ‘home’ mean to some of us?’

Highlighting and supporting the work of the charities who participated in the workshops is important to Samia, who has decided to raise funds by donating a proportion of any orders for her products placed during the time of the exhibition.

SHOP to support the project & Sutton Night Watch 

Shop for finger knitted apparel for a 20% donation split between SNW and Refugee Migrant Network Sutton on items marked #AGY005 until the exhibition ends:

Further information

Sleep Pods are an emergency aid designed for rough sleepers in severe weather conditions, to help keep people warm and dry.

Further details about the project, the charities it supports, and the future plans Samia has for the initiative can be found at the SamiArt website.

Chat with the artist / storyteller (On YouTube)

“A Good Yarn” Documentary – On YouTube (Sutton Night Watch at 6.20 minutes)

Finger knitting tutorial: Learn To Finger Knit Here – free tutorial, made for the project