What transpired was further dialogue about a community arts project to make use of the corridor space outside of the Community Room at the store. Some 8 months later, we were given the green light to set up a rolling exhibition space at the store.
It's been a good team effort from all concerned: staff from Tesco, members of Meiyo Karate Club, members of the poetry group, camera club and members of the Disabled Artists' Network all got together and put their energies into helping this project come to life.
|Our youngest volunteer - Benjamin Latos|
(Meiyo Karate Club) with Dad Hubert
Our volunteers varied in age, ability and disability but we had a common goal: to get this gallery setup and operational before the end of August 2018.
|Staff from B and Q|
|Left: Paul (DAN) - Right: Jim (Tesco Staff)|
|Nandina & Dave (DAN)|
Jim, the maintenance bod from Tesco Bulwell Extra kicked off the first board installation with Paul and Tim, Gary and myself helped with the first boards. We cracked on with it once Jim had shown us what to do but the pace was slow.
|Hannah and Adam (AR Walker Plumbing and Heating)|
|Julie and Ravinder (DAN)|
|Ready for the art work!|
|Paul and Tim (DAN)|
|Poetry Group Exhibition|
|Camera Club Exhibition|
Then it was time to get the art work installed for the first show. We had a wide ranging selection ready from a collection of artists that had been working with the project over the last 18 months or so, including exhibits from the Camera Club and the Poetry Group.
|Angie and Richard working on image editing.|
|Lord Mayor opening the exhibition|
|Myself, Cllr Michael Edwards and Chris Tilley|
We run an event every Friday evening at the store in the Community Room in the following order: Social meeting of all groups, DAN meeting, Poetry Group and the Camera Club. You can see the full list of events taking place on the project's main Facebook Page. These are community events to which you're all welcome.
If you'd like to contribute your art poetry towards the exhibitions, please click on the appropriate title below the image.
My exhibitions, ‘Living with PTSD’ and ‘Intimacy with Plants’ ran over a 12 month period from November 2013 and surpassed all of the goals that I’d set. While allowing me to interact with and listen to other people with disabilities, civilians and veterans alike – I was made aware of similar problems being experienced by others but on a wider scale. People were opening up at the exhibitions by either leaving comments in the Guestbook, through social media or talking to me direct. Some people thought that PTSD only affected veterans. I spoke to some people that described symptoms of PTSD whose symptoms started after incidents as wide ranging as sexual abuse, to bullying and road traffic accidents.
One issue was made clear to me: there is still a lot of ignorance about Mental Health related
conditions, not just PTSD, in society. I was given examples of that ignorance as people
relayed stories of how they’d been mistreated by professionals and, unfortunately, these included police officers, paramedics, solicitors, barristers, doctors, GPs, nurses and NHS admin staff in
parts of the East Midlands. There is also a tremendous amount of ignorance about the link between
physical health and mental health. If people with mental health conditions are isolated and
stay indoors without any exercise, they can develop physical health issues. If active, social people
find themselves isolated because of a physical injury they can develop a mental health condition.
I started setting up DAN (the Disabled Artists’ Network) in 2015. I wanted to give others a chance to tell their own story about disability and creativity and how it’s helped them to survive. I didn’t rule out non-disabled artists but I needed to prioritise raising the profiles of disabled artists in our communities.
It's up to you now ... get involved! Come and exhibit your art, photography and poetry with us from wherever on this Earth you are ... or further afield!
My sincere thanks to everyone that has helped to get this new venue setup; I have a feeling that this project will be here for a good while.
Thank you for taking the time to read this piece. Please share it out on social media and let's get other people involved.
Villayat 'Wolf' Sunkmanitu