Spectrum of Art Exhibition
1st April – 23rd June 2019
Royal Cornwall Museum 25 River St Truro Cornwall, TR1 2SJ
The Royal Cornwall Museum and Spectrum (a local provider of autism services) are delighted to announce Spectrum of Art, an exciting exhibition featuring work by both neuro-typical and neuro-diverse individuals. The exhibition demonstrates that art can be viewed without the viewer being aware of which artist is autistic or not, in the same way that you can’t always tell by looking at a person whether they are autistic.
Timed to coincide with the first week of Autism Awareness Month, this new exhibition is part of an ongoing autism initiative. The Royal Cornwall Museum has worked closely with Spectrum, the South West’s leading charity for autism services, to make the museum increasingly accessible to autistic people.
Spectrum has led the way in assisting public spaces, museums and art galleries to make their facilities easier to use for autistic visitors. For the Royal Cornwall Museum, this has included a careful consideration of their needs, including autism-specific information on their website, relaxed sessions and the provision of sensory bags and ear defenders. After a recent visit to the museum, Sarah Newton, the former Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, commented: ‘It’s so important that everyone is able to enjoy attractions and places of interest, and the adjustments the Royal Cornwall Museum has put in place will make such a difference to people with autism spectrum disorders who come to visit’.
Spectrum of Art features work from 11 artists who live in Cornwall, all of whom are linked in some way to Spectrum as an organisation. Five are or have been employed by the charity and a further six have a diagnosis of autism and are supported directly by it, either residentially or through outreach. Creativity and art have always been fundamental to the supportive approach of Spectrum, and the charity has supported many local initiatives and exhibitions, as well as launching the critically acclaimed national Spectrum Art Award in 2018. Mary Simpson, CEO of Spectrum states: ‘I believe that art can create a powerful and meaningful dialogue to those who feel socially isolated, lonely or different from those around them’.
Spectrum of Art includes a combination of traditional and cutting-edge art forms, with work as diverse as the artists themselves – from painting and knitted sculpture, to photography, comic strips, animation and computer generated images. Spectrum of Art explores the incredible creativity of autistic individuals, as well as the fantastic capacity of art to bring autistic and neuro-typical people together. The results are thought-provoking, engaging and beautiful; giving autistic artists a public voice through an exhibition which aims to transcend labels.
Spectrum of Art – In the artists’ own words
‘I work and live in Cornwall and draw inspiration from my surroundings to create my work. The inspiration for my work can come to me at any moment and from these times of inspiration I create a painting to capture that moment’.
‘The west Cornwall landscape provides the stimulus for my work. I use a variety of media to explore coastal elements in the visual landscape, both natural and manmade. With a focus on the coast between Porthkidney Sands and beyond the Hayle Estuary. I explore the relationship between coast and sea, constantly exploring the stress and confliction between an encroaching sea and the sometimes-yielding land.’
‘I am now 17 years old and have always loved to draw and make things. I draw pictures to help me remember the things I see and places I have visited. They are drawn from memory. Drawing makes me feel happy and relaxed. It calms me. My drawings don’t have to be perfect. I like to add lots of detail. I can’t draw people. I can draw with both hands, which is great, especially if one hand gets tired!’
Art is a language no one needs to be taught. It’s who we are on the most basic level, our feelings, our thoughts, our ideas. Art speaks for me when I can’t speak for myself, I only hope it can do the same for others.
‘There was a time when I had very few words, so I used pictures and colour to talk to the rest of the world. Whenever I sat down to create art, I found everything around me seemed somehow calmer and easier to understand.’
You can listen to Rachel Brown and Milo Whitehead talking on SourceFM about the exhibition below.