Jul 22 2011 By Ian Proctor
The Mayor of Harrow inspects art created by local disabled people
FIRST time vulnerable and disabled artists – some of whom had never picked up a paintbrush before – have had their images put on display in Harrow.
The exhibition, 'Community Into Art', came about after clients of Look Ahead Housing and Care housing association, and Cricklewood Homeless Concern (CHC), were asked what kind of activity project they would like and they chose art.
Seven residents from Harrow and Brent, who experienced difficulties such as physical or mental disabilities or homelessness, took part and began by attending three workshops at the Tate Modern on the South Bank to gather inspiration and produce works on the theme 'My Community'.
Over the next nine weeks they spent time creating paintings in time for the opening of the exhibition at Harrow's Gayton Library on Monday July 18 by the Mayor of Harrow, Councillor Mrinal Choudhury.
Participant Christine Ihegbu said: “For me I found that it was a very emotional journey because it took me quite a while to get into it and eventually I was happy with the outcome.
“I also liked the art project because it was a great way to express myself without words and it opened my eyes to things I did not notice before.”
Laura Stanton said: “I was invited by Look Ahead to take part in a series of art work shops at CHC. The theme was community and therefore I have painted portraits of the people present at those Tuesday afternoons in Cricklewood.
"Influenced by impressionist movement, I have painted in 'one tokke' otherwise known as alla prima. This is to hopefully capture the time, mood and atmosphere.“I discovered a new painting freedom at those sessions which helped me experiment with colour and gave me looseness of style which I found very exhilarating.”
The project they took part in is part of Look Ahead’s arts programme which has been run for the past 10 years and works in partnership with galleries and community arts organisations to reduce social exclusion and provide opportunities its clients to improve their self-confidence.
At the opening, Mr Choudhury told everyone involved: “I came here to see all the arts and then found out the background of the project.
“You are doing a wonderful job. You are giving hope to the people who thought they were lost.”
After 'Community Into Art' ends at Gayton Library on July 31 it switches to The Gallery at Willesden Green Centre in High Road, Willesden Green, between August 2 and August 12.