Art exhibition featuring work by people with disabilites champions inclusivity

A new inclusive arts exhibition featuring art made by people with complex disabilities is on at the RBSA Gallery until 9 March.

The Making Together exhibition, in collaboration with national disability charity Sense, showcases work created in a series of workshops, co-produced by RBSA artists and Sense participants as part of a project called Making Sense. The resulting art appeals to touch, movement, smell, sight and sound.

Workshops were held at TouchBase Pears – Sense’s pioneering community hub in Selly Oak, Birmingham – in January.

Sunney Sharma, Arts and Wellbeing Coordinator for Sense, said: ‘The aim at TouchBase Pears is to bring people together in a welcoming environment where everyone can feel connected, included and part of the community.

‘Making Together will increase awareness of inclusive arts, as well as showcasing collaborations between artists and participants, celebrating the positive impact of the arts and the creative potential of individuals with complex disabilities.’

Natalie Osborne, Learning and Engagement Manager at the RBSA said: ‘This new exhibition follows ground-breaking work with Sense last year and continues to explore ways in which arts organisations like the RBSA can improve their offer to provide more ways in which people with complex disabilities can enjoy art.’

Artist and illustrator Karoline Rerrie used screen printing techniques in her Making Sense workshops at TouchBase Pears. Work from these classes, along with art produced in workshops with Annette Pugh and a commissioned multi-sensory sculpture by Rob Hamp and the Dual Works will feature in Making Together.

Karoline said: ‘Each work produced was totally unique. A class is very much taught on an individual basis. You work with each person a lot more closely.’

Sense supports people with complex disabilities, including deafblindness and believes no one should be left out, isolated, or unable to explore their potential.

Richard Kramer, Chief Executive of Sense, said: ‘This exhibition celebrates the positive impact of the arts, removes the barriers to accessing art, and acts as a driver for social change by influencing the arts sector.

‘We want disabled people’s achievements to be more visible and celebrated in their local communities. We believe the arts have a particular importance for disabled people who communicate differently; they offer all of us the opportunity to focus on how a person uses their senses and non-verbal communication to experience and connect to the world.’

The RBSA will be offering free guided tours and multi-sensory tours during the show including a BSL tour on 27 February, 1-3pm. Contact Natalie at the RBSA on 0121 236 4353 to book a place.

Our accessibility video can be viewed at YouTube.

Making Together moves to TouchBase Pears as a community exhibition in March.

This project / exhibition is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and a donation by the Grimmitt Trust.

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