An invite to B arts is never one to be missed and their latest exhibition – ATLAS TO RECOVERY – is definitely one NOT to miss out on – writes Mel Osborne
B arts, the community arts organisation based in Stoke has gained a reputation for the thought provoking, socially conscious projects they deliver to the area. There are two things that can always be guaranteed when attending an event. One is that you will generally need a warm coat. The second is that you will always be given a warm welcome!!
It is a busy building with lots going on including a bakery, kitchen and café.
B arts latest project – Atlas to Recovery – is a multi-arts project involving professional artists and facilitators Susan Clarke, Saul Hewish, Kath Stanway, Dan Higgs, Siobhan Mcaleer, Fateha Begum, Andrea Joseph, James Earls-Davis, Emily Andrews and Cynthia Coady working with B arts Advisory Group and Volunteer Performers, The Social Agency, ASHA, Changes and Growthpoint.
The project delivery team saw that people living continuously in recovery from poor mental health had expertise borne out of lived experience and Atlas to Recovery was created!
Four giant maps – based on a style inspired by medieval mappae mundi – stand proud around the old factory floor. The maps are interactive with buttons to press, providing a narrative from the artists and what is wonderful about this exhibit is its inclusivity and I feel the main point of these pieces is that everyone can relate – Mel
Mental health recovery is not a straight line. It doesn’t start at A and end at B. The first piece is Compass points to Growth, by Growth point who used tattoo art to inspire their journey. Many members of the group have used tattoos to make breakthroughs in their mental health journey and it was reflected in the artwork.
ASHA’s piece: The threads that Bind us, looked at mental health recovery from different cultures. Using textiles such as Brocade and green, both of which are seen as close to God, the healing power of prayer.
Moving on we turn to the The Social Agencies piece; Out of this world the social spacetime was a great adventure of space navigation. Comparing the complexities of the brain to space
navigation, mental regions being difficult to navigate without proper navigational documents.
However, with them a course can be plotted to reach spaces of comfort. The process of compiling this stunning multimedia art world resulted in participants reporting feeling better mentally and physically.
Finally The Hartshill Archipelago by the Climate Café group and the advisory group, showed a cluster of islands of recovery, including a relatable island of doing nothing, an island of making things and a self soothe island.
One of the notable assets of B arts is inclusivity is at the heart of everything they do, and the kindness is genuine. The collaborative nature of arts is healing, and this exhibit shows the power of good working together can do. This is an exhibition that is open to all ages and from all parts of life. It is certainly worth an hour of your time to pop in and enjoy!
Thank you Mel Osborne
Atlas to Recovery has been funded by Stoke City Council’s Project Grants.
The exhibition runs until Thursday 6 April. More details HERE
(Main image Artwork by Andrea Joseph)
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