Viva is hosting an exhibition for Oxfordshire Artweeks 2019 created by staff and friends, inspired by working with vulnerable children around the world – from those working in youth services in Oxfordshire to refugee camps in the Middle East and to children on the streets of Delhi.
The exhibition will run from 4th-11th May (excluding 10th) in our international headquarters, based in East Oxford, showcasing art on the themes of vulnerability, hope and ‘light in the darkness’.
Artistic influences are wide and varied, multi-cultural and intergenerational. We are offering local visitors, children and adults alike, the chance to get involved in a number of workshops over the week, including individual creative responses to poetry and the chance to be involved in producing a collaborative mosaic.
Mosaic artist and former art teacher Chrissie Wilkinson is the Viva staff member heading up the project and also contributing to the exhibition. A foster carer for 18 years, Chrissie’s art is often inspired by the children and families she meets.
“Many of the situations we work within at Viva involve children and families who often feel broken, and we equip local people around the world to help them piece their lives back together and build stronger families. This is mirrored in the process of creating mosaic art: broken pieces of tiles are thoughtfully pieced together to make something new and wonderful.
“This acknowledgement of real-life anomalies and broken experience seems particularly appropriate here. I use a lot of metallic tiles which shine and the reflection of light seem to add a whole new dimension that is constantly changing.”
Kezia M‘Clelland works in emergency situations around the world – including the Philippines flood relief and war-torn Syria – and yet it is hope that shines out of her paintings. Often depicting the strength of the mother-child bond, or childhood in difficult places, Kezia’s work depicts the hopefulness that can be found amidst disaster relief.
Closer to home, Viva’s local partner network in Oxford, ‘Doorsteps’, has been working to mentor youth through an initiative called ‘Find your fire’ and the exhibition will also include a number of pieces resulting from this, with a focus on child mental health.
Alongside this, there will be pieces from children in Uganda on themes that demonstrate the struggles they face in their lived experience.
Chrissie says, “We hope that the exhibition will encourage the local community to think about vulnerable children both in our city and further afield, and that visitors will be interested to find out more about Viva’s work.”
Oxfordshire Artweeks runs from 4th-27th May 2019 and is Oxfordshire’s largest visual arts festival, and the UK’s oldest and biggest Open Studios event. It is a three-week, not-for-profit celebration in May each year of the county’s artistic and creative talent encompassing the visual arts in their broadest sense. Around 1,000 artists open the doors to their homes and studios and welcome the public to see their creations and watch them work – over 100,000 people visit Artweeks exhibitions each year and a million pounds of art changes hands!