Drawing inspiration from art
Tue, 24 Jul 2012 10:46p.m.
By Laura Frykberg
In the 1980s the Government cut funding to institutions which looked after those with mental disabilities and many went into community centres.
One such centre was Vincents' Art Workshop, which 25 years on has received its eighth award for its creative work with New Zealand's most vulnerable.
“Through being visually expressive, something quite magical will happen, it will affect their verbal communication, it will affect their inter-personal communication because they're sharing something quite deep about themselves,” says co-ordinator Glen McDonald.
Rhonda Swenson suffers from a brain and nervous system disorder and when she was in school, her art was frowned on.
“They actually took a piece of work and compared it with a five-year-olds, and I stumbled across Vincents' and sat down in the workshop and drew something, and the then the co-ordinator said they're going to frame it and put it in the exhibition and it actually sold, I was amazed,” says Ms Swenson.
And she’s not alone. Many who come here have their work exhibited and sold - Vincents' gets a small commission, the rest goes to the artist.
At today's workshop newcomer Ashika Nand is took onboard the lesson's title 'Drawing from Within'.
This one was happy, sad, angry, and calm faces,” says Ms Nand.
“I feel all these emotions in one day, like sometimes I can be happy, then something can trigger off something in my past which will make me sad.”
Ms McDonald says art's ability to trigger emotion is the key to Vincents' success.
“These people are being real, they're talking about their own personal stuff without pretending to be normal, but as soon as they pretend to be normal you've lost them,” she says.
Something she wishes the rest of society would realise.
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