• Sarah Tempest

Art Awards - Young At Art Part II

Updated: Sep 28, 2020

"The Lady in Pink"

After many weeks of hard work and creative effort, the Canvas Art Project has come to an end and our Young People have received well-deserved Awards. Sadly, as we are still in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Awards Ceremony had to be held virtually to ensure everyone's safety.

Rooftop launched the art project in our Young Person's Schemes (YPS) with the help of Artspace in Cinderford, The Guinness Partnership and funding from Tewkesbury Borough Council. The aim was to help keep our young people occupied during the lockdown, to assist with their mental health and to teach them new skills. Large canvases were donated and the finale of the project is seeing how our young residents have transformed these. Our Young Persons Service is based in four schemes, two in Gloucester, one in Tewkesbury and one in Lydney.

The Rooftop Recognition Award, as voted for by Rooftop staff, was presented to Summer from one of our Gloucester sites for her work entitled "The Lady in Pink". This painting represents growing from one thing to another, desperation to inspiration, the flower represents coming back to life, whereas the girl with her hands over her eyes represents despair.

Derry Cleaton, our Team Leader for Gloucestershire, has been delighted by the results of the project, which was inspired because of the tragic death of Derry's sister in law. Nicola Brain was a talented artist who was awarded the Henry Moore Bursary to study for her Masters in Art at the Chelsea College of Art in London. She specialised in abstract art and won the prestigious Pris de Roma to study at the British School in Rome. Tragically, while in Italy, Nicola took her own life.

Derry Cleaton says "Our young people have completed a 6-week long project and their hard work, talent and skill in producing the artworks has been a challenge for them – the results have been inspirational. Thank you to all the staff and our partners Artspace and Marie Brain, for the wonderful donation of 11 canvases for our residents to work on, and for all their support to make The Canvas Art Project a success."

This work, called "Mess, Life" has been awarded the "Nicola Brain Award" as chosen by Nicola's mother, Marie Brain. The painting is by Warren from our Tewkesbury site.

Warren says the project allowed him "to express his mind on the canvas" and the best thing about it was that he felt he was shown respect for his achievements.

This painting shows that life is a mess. The original artist’s work has been incorporated into the fire element of this painting. The blue represents the sea and calming whereas the fire shows the heat and anger.

All of the canvases originally contained work by Nicola and small sections have been left so that there is still an essence of Nicola's art imprinted within the new works created by our young residents.

The Bravery Award, chosen by one of the Artspace Tutors, Bela Kielt, has been awarded to Amber from Gloucester for her work "Caged Up". One of the key reasons for the project was to help the young people in our schemes cope with lockdown, as well as teach them some new skills.

Amber says that the art project helped, "it allowed me to express my emotions" and she loved the process of painting.

This piece was formed from feelings of being bullied at school and feeling like being trapped in a cage. All of the bad memories and name callings have been expressed within this painting. The painting also reflects how many of us have felt throughout lockdown.

Bela says "the best aspect of this project was to work and connect with young people during this difficult time, and get them to create some things they liked and enjoyed working on. I think visual art helped to express their thoughts and feelings and it helped for all of us to connect."

The painting "Wonder Train" has been given the Perseverance Award by Artspace tutor Warren Day. The artist is Keaton from our Lydney scheme. He says

"I took photos of Lydney and the local area to show what’s around and to keep the memories of my time here from when I was younger and to now. Lydney Railway is historic, it used to be connected to all of the towns – I am glad to have painted this before I move on to independence soon."

"COVID Angel" by Rita from Lydney is a tribute to the NHS. "I wanted to produce this piece in reference to the NHS staff who have been angelic throughout lockdown and COVID. The painting shows a key worker wearing a mask with wings, to show how key workers have protected us all during this time."

This piece is a favourite of Rooftop's Group Chief Executive, Boris Worrall.

“I am always inspired by the courage, determination and positivity of the young people we work with to overcome the challenges they face in their early lives. They can and should all be very proud of their involvement in this project, and the wonderful artwork they created, in many cases expressing difficult and complex issues through the creative process. "

"I would like to thank the Guinness Partnership, Tewkesbury Borough Council and Artspace Cinderford for their support and the fantastic Rooftop team who made this happen.”

Cherry Lyne a tutor from Artspace says the project presented challenges as the teaching had to be done via Zoom and sometimes it proved difficult coordinating attendance and explaining ideas, but "Seeing the young people finally get paint on to the canvases was great, and hearing that it was an affirming and positive experience for them was inspiring. The staff we had face-to-face contact with were lovely – I have great respect for everything they do."

Rooftop Housing Group has link workers based in our Young Person's Schemes and they threw themselves into working on this project alongside all their other tasks. Tracey and Natalie are based in one of our Gloucester sites and they received an award "for their huge contribution to supporting our YP to gain confidence, engage, encourage, alongside developing their personal skills. They have shown commitment above and beyond."

This project has been such a success for all involved that it's hoped something similar might be able to run in the future. Creative outlets can be extremely beneficial to health and well being and the young people in our schemes have benefitted at a difficult time for us all.

Why not take a virtual tour of all the artwork created by Rooftop YPS residents in the video created specially by Artspace.

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