‘Changing Minds’ homeless art exhibition

Art by homeless and ex-homeless people living in Aberdeen has been put on display in the city centre.

The ‘Changing Minds’ art exhibition opened in RGU:UNION at Schoolhill on Friday, June 7 and will be on display to the public until Monday, June 17.

Film, photography, animation and artwork will be on show and organisers of the event from the Bethany Christian Trust hope the exhibition will challenge perceptions of homeless people’s capabilities and potential.

More than 50 homeless and ex-homeless people engaged with the project, which was launched in 2012 to give homeless and vulnerable people in Aberdeen the opportunity to engage in arts activities and express themselves creatively.

Homeless art exhibition 2The service users were also supported by students from Robert Gordon University’s Gray’s School of Art who shared their experience and provided creative advice.

Bob Gordon (47) is one of the service users whose work is on display at the exhibition. He said: “Being able to express myself through art has been an exciting experience and although getting to grips with the project has been a new challenge for many of us we were up to the task and are very proud of what we’ve achieved. The support we have received from the students throughout the project has been fantastic and this exhibition would not have been possible without them.”

Andrew Murray, North of Scotland Manager for the Bethany Christian Trust, said: “The art project has been a tremendous success and we are pleased to have engaged with a large number of service users over the last six months who have produced a fantastic art exhibition. As well as creating some very impressive pieces of art they have also gained a number of new skills such as team work and project management which could easily be transferred in to other areas.

“One of the most pleasing aspects of the project was the support we received from students from Gray’s School of Art who were very generous with their time and provided creative guidance on all of the pieces which are now on display.”

Homeless art exhibition

Funding worth £2,500 was secured by the Bethany Christian Trust from Aberdeen City Council’s Vibrant Aberdeen Cultural Grants Committee last summer which enabled the project to go ahead. One of its major aims was to improve communication and dialogue between different social groups and communities in the city with a view to building relationships and breaking down social, economic and cultural barriers.

Service users attended regular sessions to work on the art project at King’s Community Church on King Street every Wednesday and Friday with extra sessions provided at Peacocks Visual Art Centre.

Gray’s School of Art PhD student Peter Buwert (25) has played a leading role in supporting the project and is also showing part of the exhibition in Tillydrone shopping centre.

He said: “This has been an exciting project to be involved in and I know the students who have provided support for the service users have developed their own creative and interpersonal skills. Not only have the service users developed a strong sense of identity through their art, working on the project has also boosted their confidence and provided opportunities for everyone involved to mix and learn from one another.”

Gray’s students will also be involved in their annual degree show which takes place next week at Gray’s School of Art.  The show, sponsored for the 10th year by BP, will be open daily from Saturday, June 15 to Saturday, June 22.

Release by
Ross Anderson
Communications Officer | Health and Sport

Email: ross.anderson@rgu.ac.uk

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