Walk the Talk

Milton Keynes Arts Centre, UK

In February 2022, Harold Offeh invited local people to be his tour guides of Milton Keynes. He was interested in what an encounter between a curious visitor – unfamiliar with a place and its history – and the people embedded in that place, would lead to. The artist was taken on guided walks of Wolverton, Great Linford, Central Milton Keynes and Bletchley. In each of these areas, the tour guides shared their knowledge with the artist and each other and, over the course of the walks, the guides came to better appreciate both their neighbourhoods and their own expertise.

In April, Offeh returned to Milton Keynes. This time, the artist worked with the same groups to create a collective map of Milton Keynes formed from individually-made tablecloths, candles and plates – all sculpted or decorated to reflect the stories, places and histories that had been revealed to him. This unconventional map celebrates the fact that a place is not navigated by roads and paths alone, but also by the individual and collective memories and experiences of those who live there, as well as its curious visitors.

EAT THE FEAST took place on Thursday 7 July at MK Gallery as the conclusion of WALK THE TALK. The event brought together plates, sculpted candles, tablecloths and recipes created by people in Milton Keynes, each telling a story about their maker and where they live. An amazing feast of dishes chosen by the project participants was served and Harold led a Milton Keynes-themed quiz.