Giant figure and sculpture building, using willow and tissue paper has been a significant part of Jigantics work over the years. We produce large scale pieces with schools, community events and private clients throughout the UK. We are available to run workshops and make individual commissioned pieces.
Jig Cochrane – Artistic Director
Stuart Cochlin – Project Director
Oun Sanvan – Project Manager
Bina Hanley – Public Relations
Phare Ponleu Art School in Battambang
Founded by Jig Cochrane, Stuart Cochlin and Sasha Constable in 2007. This project is now the largest of its kind in Cambodia, providing a creative platform for disadvantaged children to foster and promote self-expression and confidence through art.
Puppets are created to include unique educational, cultural and ecological themes such as road safety, endangered species, hygiene, local cultural appreciation and environmental awareness. The giant creations are produced through fun and creative workshops, charging and encouraging the imagination of the children.
Children under 15 make up one third of Cambodia’s entire population. Widespread poverty exists; education, health and the environment are key issues for the sustainable growth of the country. Every year The Giant Puppet Project offers over 500 children the opportunity to digest these all-important issues through a jovial artistic medium.
Two distinct aspects make up The Giant Puppet Project, Siem Reap. The first phase of the project involves three weeks of workshops where children from local schools, vocational facilities and ‘street kid’ organisations, along with child landmine survivors, are invited to join fun yet educational workshops where the children create the puppets. Each participating organization create their own specially designated giant puppet. Each puppet takes an average of two days to complete and they vary in size from ten to thirty meters.
The second phase, and climactic finale, is a dramatic parade through the streets of Siem Reap Town. In the ancient style of Chinese dragon puppets, each organization proudly carries and exhibits their creation. The children are applauded and cheered for the duration of the parade by an enormous and annually growing crowd of onlookers from the local communities as well as host of international tourists.
Under the guidance of student artists from Phare Ponleu Seplak in Battambang and the project’s Artistic Director, Jig Cochrane, the children flourish in the workshops and their enthusiasm grows until it bursts onto the streets of Siem Reap on the evening of the parade.
Since 1993 Jig Cochrane has been involved in producing annual projects overseas with children and communities living through difficult times, something This work began with a collaboration with Croatian/Oxford artist Dragan Matievic and Rise Phoenix, a community arts organisation, on a small UV puppet show that toured the refugee camps in Croatia during the height of the Balkan conflict in the early nineties. These tours developed over time into carnivals and large-scale children’s theatrical productions focusing on giant figurative lantern workshops using willow and tissue .Projects took place in Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo and Bosnia, and reached thousands of people uniting them and bringing light and smiles to hundreds of communities at a time of darkness.
In 2002 Jig went on to work in Africa, again with Rise Phoenix and in partnership with Jane Goodall and London-based performer Dick Crane. They worked throughout Tanzania with local artists, producing storytelling and music festivals and running workshops making large artworks and giant figures with both adults and children. The projects were extremely well received by all.
A further project took place in Sri Lanka, in post-tsunami refugee camps with the charity Fun For Life. The project explored traditional culture and themes of healing with a lantern parade through the devastated town left behind from the tsunami This developed into a traveling cinema showing entertainment features and documentary films produced by the local people who were living through this event. Similar projects also took place with the Hope and Flowers School in Palestine, through the charity Tiger Tiger and further organisations in India, Peru and Brazil.