Stunning Artwork Promotes Disability Arts At Brighton Library

By Richard Moss | 04 March 2008
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a painting showing two African masks

Gary Whelan, African Masks. © Gary Whelan

A new art and photography exhibition has opened at the Jubilee Library in Brighton that promotes social inclusion and diversity through the artistic talents of local artists with learning disabilities.

The work, which is on show in the foyer of the library until April 25 2008, is part of the Our Art project, a scheme organised by Brighton and Hove Council that recognises the considerable talents of local people who might otherwise not get the chance to show their work.

A diverse range of artwork is displayed in the exhibition including photography, painting and printmaking and prints of everything on show can be bought for £25. By displaying and selling their work the contributors wish to see themselves as serious artists.

a photograph of a smiling young woman next to a painting of a helter skelter

Artist Mona Helalat with her painting Helter Skelter. Photo © Richard Moss / 24 Hour Museum

“The reason we have organised this exhibition is that we think the art produced is worthy of a wider audience and should be seen by the local community,” said Martin Mitchener, Project Manager of the Learning and Disability Service for Brighton and Hove Council.

“The idea is to try and show the art and also to sell the art. The money goes back to the artists and they decide how it is used – whether that be on better art equipment, display boards or on themselves.”

Funded by Brighton and Hove Council under the direction of the Better Work Options project, art teachers have been working with visitors to the Belgrave, Buckingham Road and Wellington House Day Centres on art for the exhibition.

a photograph of two abandoned bicyles in a dried up river bed

A photograph taken by George Farran at Shoreham Harbour. © George Farran

The standard of the work is high and unsurprisingly many of the prints have already been sold. The local council has also used some of the pieces for its magazines and publications, whilst Swimming Pool by Susan Mayle has been sold as a magazine cover for Disability Today.

Martin is now looking for further opportunities to sell and display the work, which has also been displayed at the London Design Museum and at the Forager gastro pub in Hove.

“It’s especially nice to have it shown in the gastro pub because we feel they understand our artwork and welcome our people,” added Martin. “They can visit that pub now and see their work and people know them there. It’s all about making links with the local community – that’s what’s important.”

a colourful painting of a power station

Dierdre Waller, Shoreham Power Station No. 2. © Dierdre Waller

The small exhibition was opened by the Deputy Mayor of Brighton, Cllr David Smith, who thanked the artists and organisers and stressed the importance of projects like this for the city of Brighton and Hove.

“I’m proud the city of Brighton and Hove is playing the lead on this,” said Cllr Smith. “It’s your art, it’s our art and I’m very proud to see it displayed prominently here in the Jubilee Library.”

After its stint at the Jubilee Library there are plans to move the Our Art exhibition to smaller community libraries around Brighton and Hove.

a photograph of a group of smiling people standing before a display panel of artwork

The artists stand proudly before their work at the Jubilee Library. © Richard Moss / 24 Hour Museum

A3 mounted prints of the work on show cost £25. If you are interested in purchasing any of the prints or in supporting the work of the project contact Martin Mitchener at martin.mitchener@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

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