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Copperfield Street London SE1
By Linda Serck
Figura Gallery in Windsor is home to an exhibition by the home'less'. Find out why the Rough Image collection is so important to the lives of those on the streets, and see the gallery of artwork below.
Until 04.05.08 | Figura Gallery | Above Artistica | 24 High Street | Windsor | SL4 1LH
"I feel like I have achieved something, as well as enjoying the process of creating the work."
London And Slough Run chair John O' Neill
So says David, one of the homeless artists whose work is currently on display in Windsor at an exhibition called Rough Image.
See photos of art at the exhibition along with artist background here:
The exhibition comes in support of the London And Slough Run, a local charitable organisation which has been helping to feed and support Slough and London homeless for 23 years.
Chair of the London And Slough Run John O' Neill says: "We thought we could bring the exhibition out here so that people in this area have a chance of seeing that just giving a sandwich or a sleeping bag is just that little helping hand that some of these people need to get themselves back on their feet again."
But as well as highlighting London And Slough Run, inevitably the exhibition will also serve to amaze visitors because of the high quality of the work.
Walking round the Figura Gallery, I'm struck by the immense talent on display. Every painting, hat and piece of jewellery is thought-provoking and aesthetically beautiful - and certainly very buyable. Indeed some of the artwork has already been sold.
Rough Image is Brid Vaughan's initiative
"The exhibition is put together to demonstrate that homeless people are not hopeless people," says Brid Vaughan, trustee and volunteer of the London And Slough Run, and who set up Rough Image.
"It's to show how talented and how versatile they can be," she adds, "to show us that they really are warm-hearted human-beings who unfortunately tend to lose their identity by the sheer fact that they're just homeless."
Slough MP Fiona Mactaggart was certainly in awe when she came along to the launch.
"What's striking is that some of this work is work you'd be impressed with where ever you saw it and whoever has made it," she says, "and when you think about the challenges that many of these artists have overcome in order to make this work, the skills that they've got to make the jewellery, the hats and the artwork - it's pretty impressive."
An impressed Slough MP Fiona Mactaggart
The artwork is provided by homeless members of Crisis Skylight - part of national homelessness charity Crisis - which encourages homeless people to take part in free practical and creative workshops.
Art and crafts are increasingly encouraged as an occupation for the homeless, as it's seen to add positive therapeutic and motivational elements to more basic support such as food and clothing.
Paula Lonergan, art coordinator for Crisis Skylight and curator of the exhibition says: "The chance to participate in art, crafts and other practical skills workshops is highly valued.
She adds: "They say that a picture tells a thousand words, and this could not be more true. Art often helps people rediscover their creativity and sense of worth, and confidence which may eventually help them to move back into society."
So with the positive impact that creating art has, and with the proceeds of the artwork going to the artists themselves - coupled with financial advice and professional support, it's clear that Rough Image is an exhibition where the beauty is not just in the eye of the beholder.
last updated: 20/05/2008 at 14:18
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