18th Nov, 2019

Rees Foundation pop-up exhibition in Redditch in words, pictures and video

Correspondent 26th May, 2019 Updated: 7th Jun, 2019

STUNNING artwork by care leavers has gone on show at a pop-up gallery in the Kingfisher Shopping Centre, writes Shivani Chaudhari.

Organised by the Rees Foundation, which runs the popular Rees Community Cafe in Church Road, Redditch, the exhibition lasts until May 31.

The registered charity’s principles strive to remove any stigma and obstacles for anyone with care experience of any age, whereas others charities focus on the 18- 25 age bracket.

Arts Project co-ordinator, Kim Cormack, herself a care experienced, shared that growing up people perceived her through the stereotypes and statistics associated with foster care children and care leavers.

She said that charities like the Rees Foundation were important as they “start the journey of becoming equal.”

The Redditch exhibition has been split up into three different themes; mental health awareness, International Women’s Day and International Boys Day.

For the International Women’s Day theme Kim wanted to showcase the wide range of women who have all experienced life in care, finding it particularly inspiring and finding great comfort in discovering famous women like CoCo Chanel and Eartha Kitt who had all been in care.

For a video by Shivani of the exhibition click: here

Artists on show include Saira Jones ; who’s artwork and poems focus on themes of PTSD, recovery, exploitation and her experience in care. Saira also has a range of hand painted rocks, which depicts book covers from authors who or on the subject of foster care.

Care experienced artist Yusuf ‘Paul’ McCormack’s uses his artwork to convey a story that often juxtaposes a clever metaphor with hard hitting imagery and words.

For the International Boys theme, he has installed a mounted, dismembered black buttoned blazer, laden with hundreds of handwritten derogatory words which he himself was subjected to whilst in the care system during the 60s and 70s.

McCormack’s jacket piece is particularity interesting because it’s an interactive concept with an obvious metaphor but as his work continues further down the wall it becomes more and more cryptic and open to personal interpretation.

The intentional ambiguity of each project represents the idea that not everyone in care will face the same experiences and Kim said encouraging wider members of the community, especially non-care experienced to engage with the stories and artwork can only inspire change.

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