Starting From Scratch – Homeless Art Exhibition
Seven residents from Alabaré Place, local homeless charity Alabaré’s hostel and drop in centre, are taking part in a unique art show in Salisbury called ‘Starting from Scratch’. The exhibition of emotive, multi-media works is on at Waterstones Salisbury branch from 9th October until 6th November 2016.
‘Starting from Scratch’ is part of the city-wide art project, ‘The Word is in the Streets (Do I Know You)’.
Started about a year ago by residents in the hostel, the Alabaré Place art group meets every Thursday for two hours. It is an opportunity for residents to explore their creativity through drawing, calligraphy, paint, or sculpture.
One member of the group is 46 year old Shaun. Last October, art therapist Shaun had a breakdown and turned to alcohol for relief. Shaun hit a time of chaos, with his alcoholism feeding his depression, anxiety, behaviour and memory problems. Unable to cope with day to day life, Shaun found himself in trouble with the police and was arrested and hospitalised many times. At rock bottom, Shaun lost his job, his relationship broke down and with it he lost his home.
In April this year, after another spell in hospital, Shaun’s luck finally changed and after visiting the Council, he was offered a room at Alabaré Place.
Shaun said -
‘Alabaré Place feels safe, less chaotic. I now have stability and my key workers here are amazing. They have supported me when I am unable to support myself. Alabaré has literally saved my life.’
Along with the professional support to overcome his addictions and mental ill-health that he is benefiting from at Alabaré Place, Shaun has found comfort and familiarity in the informal art group held once a week. The group gives him a space to express his experiences, letting him engage as little or as much as he feels able. Having spent 20 years as a NHS therapist helping children and young adults to overcome trauma through creative expression, now Shaun is reaping the benefits of this form of healing himself.
Susan Francis, artist and group co-facilitator said -
“I have recently had the privilege of supporting the art group to produce their first art exhibition together, ‘Starting from Scratch’. The majority of the work on display has been created by residents of Alabaré during their Thursday sessions with additional pieces by individuals who have come along to use the centre's drop in facilities. Despite the very difficult life circumstances experienced by each contributor, the exhibition celebrates the huge creative diversity, skill and richness which each individual has to offer.”
The exhibition is free and open to the public during Waterstones shop opening hours.