Observations: Artists transform tents for Blank Canvas Project

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The Independent Culture

Camping at music festivals is nothing new but the tents being exhibited as part of the Blank Canvas Project at this weekend's Big Chill are complete originals. The tents, which have been transformed into individual artworks by artists including Keith Coventry, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Vivienne Westwood and Tom Ormond, will be lit up at night to raise awareness about the issue of homelessness.

So, Gavin Turk's tent looks like it's been trampled over with a military boot ink print design; Sarah Lucas's contribution, titled Tent is a four letter word, has been set on fire and had a sculpture placed in the middle where the canvas used to be, while Rachel Whiteread has recreated the graffiti from her Turner prize-winning House artwork in 1993.

Founded by the artist Cedric Christie – whose own canvas contribution will be splattered partly with paintball paint, partly with ammunition remains – the project was inspired by the filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, who donated a series of tents and set them up along Canal Saint-Martin in Paris for the homeless to live in. "I thought it was brilliant; people opened their doors and there was an encampment on the river bank," Christie recalls. "I thought, what a gesture. Small gestures can make a big difference and that's what I want to do." The tents will be auctioned off next year with the money being split between Amnesty International, The Big Issue and a charity of each artist's choice.

www.blankcanvasproject.org; www.bigchill.net