The Good Shepherd and the Light House Independent Cinema have teamed up for an art exhibition featuring the work of people from Wolverhampton who are in recovery from different forms of addiction.
September is Recovery Month and so, two years on from the first exhibition highlighting the creative talents of those in recovery, new and fresh work is being displayed in what is the first exhibition to return to the Light House Gallery since the start of the pandemic.
Challenging addiction-related stigmas and highlighting the positive stories of people in recovery, art groups facilitated by the Good Shepherd, SUIT (Service User Involvement Team) and Recovery Near You are exhibiting alongside established artists from the city including current students and alumni from the University of Wolverhampton.
The exhibition launched last Thursday evening, officially opened by Good Shepherd ambassador and BBC broadcaster Natalie Graham and included testimony about his own Recovery from Paul Huggett, peer support lead with the Hepatitis C trust in Leicestershire.
Other Good Shepherd ambassadors Jaki Graham, Jack Kirwan and Niall Farrell were also present alongside representatives from the Wolverhampton Society of Art, many other art specialists and members of the public.
“The art groups facilitated via these different charities offer a safe space for people to come and talk and share any issues whilst also the opportunity to express themselves creatively,” says exhibition organiser and Good Shepherd project worker Kate Penman, who works with Chris Manley, Leanne Hayes and Steve Hughes from the Good Shepherd at the art classes.
“For many people who are in recovery or going through different problems in their lives, finding a new interest and an outlet to put their feelings into a picture or painting can be a hugely important part of their journey.
“While it is a chance for expression, it is also a chance for people to be valued as, quite rightly, all of us should be valued.
“When they can see their artwork exhibited up on the wall, it is something they themselves have created that didn’t exist before, and there is a worth to it and a sense of achievement.
“We are delighted to be working with the Light House once again, and for them to be offering up this platform where people in recovery can display their work alongside some fantastic established artists.
“The exhibition includes not just artwork but also film, photography and the chance to listen to testimonies and hopefully be inspired by people who are in recovery from many different types of addiction.
“With this link-up with the Light House, we have an incredible opportunity to tell stories and share talents which were previously unknown.
“The exhibition launched last Thursday night and it was a wonderful evening with so many people attending and sharing their stories and experiences.”
The exhibition also includes photography from the ‘Discarded’ project recently completed by the Good Shepherd focusing on a ‘society that discards people and possessions’ which has already been immortalised in a hardback coffee-table style book.
Kelly Jeffs, CEO at the Light House, is also delighted to be once again hosting the exhibition at the gallery, which has also been given a bit of a spruce-up by volunteers from the Good Shepherd.
“After such a long time in darkness during the lockdown over many, many months, we are so happy to be welcoming our first exhibition of 2021 enabling this amazing group of artists to share their work with our visitors and audiences,” says Kelly.
“To see the bare walls of our exhibition space come to life again with this really expressive collection of art work is an absolute joy.”
*The exhibition runs until September 29th with the gallery open from 1pm-8.30pm from Tuesdays to Sundays (closed on Mondays).