About this time last year I did a post about my good friend Steve's art groups show 'Life Is Your Very Own Canvas' which featured a varied selection of works from Penumbra service users. Steve combined his own experiences of art as a healing factor to overcome some of the challenges he faced in the everyday and as a result created what has come to be some of my favourite art works, a few of which proudly take pride of place in my home. Art as a therapeutic remedy has been tried and tested and can often lead to some interesting works and the second show from the Penumbra group is certainly proof of that.
Since last year the group has grown with Kane Jansen helping to co facilitate but they still face challenges like regular space for the group to meet and work on their art works. Taking each challenge as it comes, they've managed to carry on and produced a series of new works which were show for a few weeks at the Seventeen space. I popped down for the opening to see whats new and as before was blown away by the breadth of work on show. Steve himself is very much aligned with the outsider art movement, a group who often work outside the established norms of what many consider to be fine art, instead there's a focus on finding your own unique voice. The show as before is a perfect embodyment of this ethos with incredible water colour paintings next to glass ware, photography next to highly detailed oil paintings and fun sketchy drawings next to psychedelic mandala art. Its also great to see artists returning to show again like the fabulous work of Barbara Mason who was a favourite from last year.
But often the merit of these works doesn't come from the skill of the artist or the ability to translate an idea but from the simple fact they lifted pencil to paper. It was almost overwhelming to hear a few of the artists speak about their experiences with the group and to hear how it had directly impacted on their lives and mental health. One artist spoke of the support and inspiration she finds in the group and how it helps her keep going while another spoke of going to the first class after years of suffering with depression and anxiety, not making for so long but as she walked home after that class she finally felt like a weight had been lifted, she was coming out of the dark tunnel and could see light for the first time in a long time. These testimonies not only speak of the power of what Steve and Kane have achieved with the group but of the power and resilience of each of the artists.
As with many of these shows they're up and then down in no time but the after effect is always strong and will hopefully inspire more people to find the power in their creative voice. Well done to all artists involved and thank you for sharing. To find out more about Penumbra and the support they provide check out Penumbra.org.