Burnley College student's "powerful public artwork"

Imogen Smith with Mark Titchner.
Imogen Smith with Mark Titchner.

A Turner Prize-nominated artist has turned the words of a former Burnley College student into a "powerful public artwork", to be exhibited permanently at Burnley Library.

The words of 18-year-old Imogen Smith - “I want to know unknown things about space, time and world secrets” - have been immortalised by renowned contemporary artist, Mark Titchner, in the form of a large banner purchased by Burnley Library and Lancashire County Council using the Stocks Massey Bequest Fund.

Unveiled on Thursday 28th, the piece constitutes grand finale of a two year-long, public art commission managed by FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) entitled 'What I want more than anything else.'

Involving young artists from across Burnley making their thoughts and opinions visible in public spaces, the pieces include banners, flags, screen-based works, and murals exhibited at Burnley Library, Burnley College, Burnley Market Hall, and Burnley Youth Theatre until January 31st, 2018.

Imogen, from Hebden Bridge, said: “I've always been fascinated with the unknown elements of the world and universe. It both excites and terrifies me that there are things so extreme taking place in the world that I will never know about.

“Working with Mark has been an amazing opportunity, and has been a real eye opener to the whole process he goes through to create his work," she added. "As an artist myself, it’s been amazing for me to see how a reputable artist works, and to see the 'behind the scenes' of a project.

"He was always keen to ensure my voice was heard, and helped me greatly throughout," Imogen said of Mark. "I’m thrilled my words are being shown permanently at Burnley Library. The idea that part of me will permanently stay in the community is very special to me and quite overwhelming in a good way.”

Commenting on the exhibition, Mark Titchner, said: “It’s been a privilege working closely with a group of young people from Burnley. I felt Imogen’s words seemed to reflect the uncertainty felt by many young people growing up in an increasingly chaotic and dangerous world.”