We talk to Figment Arts artists about their recent AOH exhibition and up coming new show in Worthing
We were really delighted that Figment Arts took part in the AOH 40th Anniversary series of Towards the Light exhibitions this May.
First of all, can you tell us a little about Figment Arts artists?
We’ve been working together for around four years now. The group is made up of artists who are learning disabled, autistic and neurodivergent. Over the last two years we’ve managed to keep going through online sessions, but since April this year we’re back working together in person. We’re using Lawrence’s Art Studio, it’s a great space.
There are seven artists in the group, with support from Figment Arts Director David Parker and Producer/Curator Clare Sheppeard. We’re currently funded by Arts Council England.
How did you select and curate the work for the Towards the Light exhibition?
Kirsty: They were my first ever drawings I did on my tablet. I was working to the theme. It was so good to work in the studio and get advice and help from others.
Sarah: I usually work on my Ipad, I exhibited my photos, I wasn’t sure which ones to show, so we worked as a group and I asked other people what they thought. I hadn’t done any selecting of my work for about 2 years, so it was quite difficult.
Debbie: I enjoyed displaying my four paintings, it’s been a long, long time since I exhibited. I’m so pleased that the lockdown is over and it’s encouraging to show my work to others. We worked together and cooperated, I loved that. I like getting feedback from others.
Will: I had in mind to find work that would relate to the theme, what would stand out. I decided to put together a compilation of short animated clips I had made alongside a sculpture and some drawings. I wanted to show the range of things I could do. I wanted the Animation to be the centrepiece, with the sculpture and drawings around this to compliment the animation.
What benefits did you gain by being part of a larger group of AOH artists at Devils Dyke Farm marquee?
Kirsty: I was looking forward to it – my first exhibition, it was good to get our art out there – I sold a piece of work!
Debbie: I felt supported, being part of a group gave me confidence.
Will: It was generally nice to have lots of artists together in one space, seeing your work alongside each other was really interesting.
Sarah: It was a lovely place, with a lovely view so it was really nice to visit there and see my work.
Lockdown was a very hard time for us all – but were there any benefits at all that you think came from it?
Kirsty: Zoom has been good, it’s a new thing but it’s been good to keep in touch. Without zoom meetings would have been cancelled so it was a good way to keep in touch.
Sarah: It was really hard, if it wasn’t for support, I wouldn’t have got out to see things. I did do a bit more cooking, learning new recipes, even if I take a long time to cook I enjoy it.
Debbie: I did get a lot of writing done, which was good for me.
Will: it allowed me to think for myself a bit more and I started doing some independent commissioned work which came about online. Also, not having to be around people all the time which for me was a bit of a relief!
Your next exhibition will be in Worthing; can you tell us a bit about the exhibition, what performances and other special events you are planning there?
We’ve all been to visit the gallery, to help us visualise the space and decide what we’re doing there.
This exhibition will include poetry performance, illustration, photography
and screen based work. It will also feature mesmerizing work created with Superstar Arts (Worthing) using a giant kaleidoscope installation.
The artists exhibiting from Figment Artists are:
Kirsty: My work looks different, I’ve moved on to working on an Ipad and it’s more experimental now. I’ve got more confidence in using the Ipad.
Debbie: the theme is Looking Out, I like the theme, and the location of the gallery is good, it’s an eye-catching space. For me the title is positive and about beauty and the environment.
Sarah: I’m showing a new large-scale wallpaper design, inspired by William Morris. I’m also showing some small-scale work I did during the lockdown; one is looking out over my garden, one is a picture of my breakfast! and one of my cat.
Figment Arts Looking Out is at Colonnade House, Worthing from 14th to the 26th June, open Tuesday to Sunday, 10 til 5pm.