From August – October 2012, Artlink West Yorkshire hosted a nine-week project with male and female patients from Ward 2 at the Forensic Unit, Newsam Centre, Seacroft Hospital. Artists Milena Dragic and Kevin Hickson supported patients to explore the visual arts through printing and painting to produce a large body of work which has been collaged into three large canvases. Its intriguing name, ‘Hidden Places’, was chosen because we wanted to reflect how our work is often in ‘hidden places’, places in which most people cannot go, environments which are challenging. Often we are working with the most vulnerable people, a lot of the time their stories aren’t heard.
We began the project unsure how the workshops might unfold. Each week the artists blogged about the work taking place, together with photographs of the art work being produced and quotes from participants and the staff working with them. The blog has created a visual recollection of this creative interaction.
Above all, the project created a creative space where participants could relax and focus on their art work rather than their condition and its symptoms. Feedback from patients suggested that having an external artist created a different dynamic, they were intrigued about the project, sometimes popping their head around the door to see what was going on and coming in to watch the artist – eventually having a go themselves.
The large canvases now on display in the entrance hall were produced to create a more welcoming environment to the ward. We hope you enjoy exploring the artwork on display and see the potential of those involved.
This project was in partnership with Arts and Minds and was funded through Arts Council England’s Grants For The Arts.