I Am?

Thursday 1 February – Sunday 24 March 2024
I Am? | Thursday 1 February – Sunday 24 March 2024 | Atypical Gallery | Image: montage of various artworks – on the left, a cropped view of complex work involving threads, small disks of different colours, a small lock, coloured stones, nails, wood…; at the bottom, two small watercolour (?) paintings, or details from them – warm, blurry shapes in rich colours; top and right: partial head and torso drawing, from the back – the back is tattooed and has white feathers growing from it suggesting wings; the head is turned to look towards our left

An exhibition exploring the theme of ‘I Am’ by artists Wendy Kelly, James Stewart, Stephen Gifford, Rene Boyd, Leah Batchelor, Lesley McClune, Kathryn Clarke and Lisa Forsythe.

Taking the theme of ‘I Am’ as a starting point or catalyst, the exhibition showcases a range of artworks representing each of the artists’ interpretation of I am, I wonder, I see, I want, I pretend, I cry, I feel, I worry, I say, I try, I hope and I dream using a range of mixed media and materials from drawings to paintings and art works with 3-dimensional elements.

One of the core themes of the exhibition is for the artists to represent themselves and their work in a neutral space rather than being pre-deterrmined or predefined by disability or other preconceptions.

Brain Injury Matters (NI) was established in 2013 as an independent regional third sector organisation supporting, promoting and empowering those individuals and families affected by acquired brain injury.

The Arts service provides the opportunity for people to explore their creative potential through participant-led projects in our Studio Space with professional artists. The projects range from visual arts, photography, film, creative writing, poetry, animation, drama, physical theatre, creative gardening as well as combined media. These are published, exhibited or showcased at exhibitions, events and festivals throughout Northern Ireland and beyond. This is so that people can develop and utilise their creative and artistic potential for their own benefit, but also for the enrichment of society (UNCRPD, 2006).

Curator – Ciara O’Malley, Creative Arts Manager in the Adult Arts Programme at Brain Injury Matters since November 2019.
Ciara’s role is to give everyone who attends the adult programme the opportunity to explore and develop their potential creatively, as artists, writers, and as performers through the arts and to showcase the work created on the same level and footing as others operating in the public art arena. She organises exhibitions, performances and events in Northern Ireland and beyond utilising local networks and a full range of publicity and media to advertise the events. She is a practising visual artist creating socially engaged public art works and a member of the Vault Studios, Belfast. She has initiated, facilitated, managed and curated a range of art projects and public exhibitions for many years which she brings to her role as Creative Arts Manager in Brain Injury Matters.

Statement: “The I Am? Exhibition also represents an important stage in the continuing journey of emerging artists in Northern Ireland”.

Curator – Daniela Balmaverde, Italian artist living and working in Belfast.
Daniela graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Turin with a BA (First Class) in Stage Design in 2003. Her love for art has not stopped since. In the past 20 years, she has been working on various projects of public art, film settings, portraits and sculptures for the public and private sectors. Curiosity and a constant desire to push the boundaries bring her to experiment and explore materials and subjects. She is constantly attracted to confront the endless challenges that the painting process brings.

Statement: “The curated collection presents a diverse range of artworks that not only captivate the eye but also engage the viewer’s spatial perception. The inclusion of 3D elements introduces a dynamic dimension, allowing the audience to interact with the pieces on a multi-sensorial level. This exhibition aims to highlight the transformative power of art as a therapeutic outlet, showcasing a diverse array of works that speak to the resilience of the human spirit. Each piece becomes a testament to the artists’ ability to navigate challenges, using their creativity as a means of healing and self-discovery. This curated collection becomes not only a celebration of artistic talent but also a platform for raising awareness about the profound impact of brain injuries on individuals’ lives and their remarkable journey towards artistic expression.”

Exhibition opening: Thursday 1st February, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm • Artists’ speeches will feature British Sign Language interpretation.

Curator’s and Artists’ Talk: Friday 23rd February 2024, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm, in partnership with The North Belfast Festival. Join us then for a tour of the exhibition and an informal discussion about the artworks. This is a great way to start the weekend, and find out more about the artists and Brain Injury Matters. Light refreshments will be served. Everyone is welcome. Speeches will feature British and Irish Sign Language interpretation.

Thursday 1 February – Sunday 24 March 2024
Atypical Gallery
109 - 113 Royal Avenue
Belfast BT1 1FF
Telephone: +44 9023 9450
Opening hours / start times:
Tuesday 11:00 - 15:00
Wednesday 11:00 - 15:00
Thursday 11:00 - 15:00
Friday 11:00 - 15:00
Admission / price: Free

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