Brentford Art exhibition demonstrates talents of people with intellectual disabilities

A new temporary exhibition of art by people with intellectual disabilities has opened at the historical Syon House in Brentford.

Branching Paths is an exhibition of artworks made by a group of local artists, organised as part of Hounslow Borough Council’s Summer of Culture.

The exhibition brings together a collection of works made in weekly sessions over several years at the Connect@ Hounslow hub of Caritas St Joseph’s. Each session began by the group looking at and responding to the work of different artists before returning to their own themes. With the help of carers and volunteers, the artists worked across ceramics, oil pastel and watercolour to develop their process, crafting their own distinct visual language.

For example, Faiza Mir continually returns to circles, which give her a sense of confidence. She draws and colours variations of circles each week with focus and determination, and enjoys using bright colours.

Alexander Harrison is a prolific artist who works methodically and at pace. He enjoys mixing colours carefully to be sure of the right colour pallet for each piece. There is often a rhythm in his paintings which he describes in the recurring names of his work: ‘stones’, ‘tunnels’, ‘thunder’ and ‘lightning’. His verbal language is limited, but the pride he shows in his work is evident.

Caritas St Joseph’s has been working with adults with learning disabilities for 45 years and is one of the services of Caritas Westminster. It runs a lifelong learning centre in Hendon, with about 200 students registered, as well as two “Connect@” centres, based at Catholic parishes in Hounslow and Feltham. Eight students currently attend Connect@ Hounslow each Thursday, which is temporarily using the Feltham centre whilst their usual location is being renovated.

The works exhibited in Branching Paths are a celebration of different perspectives and of the creative journeys the students are on, as individuals and as a group. It has been made possible by a grant from Hounslow Borough Council through their Summer of Culture programme.

Karen Palmer, Development worker for Connect@ said: “On the day of the opening at Syon Park we held an Art Class in the morning at Feltham, the students were very excited about the exhibition. The Connect through Art Classes give our Students a way to express themselves through different art forms and creative media. It has been a pleasure to work alongside our talented artists, with my colleague Stephanie who curated the exhibition, as well as our very dedicated volunteers Maria and Derek.”

Branching Paths includes artworks made by Ani Hampartsoumian, Alexander Harrison, Rosemary Mahoney, Faiza Mir and Susanna Woollam, made with the assistance of Karen Palmer, Derek Wardle and Maria Wolanska, and is curated by Steph Hartop.

The art is on display at Syon Park Visitor Centre until 30th October.