Brighton art project
After three successful theatre projects, The Royal British Legion’s award winning Bravo 22 Company ran its first recovery and wellbeing through art project in Brighton.
Fifteen wounded, injured and sick Service personnel, veterans and their family members took part in the Legion-run project where they made models, sculpture and collage.
The four-week programme culminated in a public exhibition – The Art of Recovery – which opened at the Phoenix Brighton gallery.
Veteran Steve Shaw working on his sculpture
"My design is a representation of how I live my life everyday. I spend a lot of time lying on my back with my feet up against the radiator allowing heat to pass through my body to warm areas where I’m in pain. The project has been quite tiring both physically and mentally but, like the others taking part, I get a lot from it."Veteran Steve Shaw, injured in an attack in Afghanistan
Through art, the project aimed to improve participants’ self-awareness, confidence, self-esteem and motivation to move along their individual recovery pathway. They were given a platform to say what they want to say, through art.
Participants worked one-to-one with artists to create life-size sculptures. Each of the sculptures is unique to its creator and tells a different story of recovery; from a painful memory to worries about civilian life or injuries that can’t be physically seen.
Participant Maurilla Simpson with her art-work
"Creating art has brought me positive feelings of enjoyment and mental calm. It has given me a lifeline into a new world where I feel valued and challenged. I’ve been astonished at the efforts and enthusiasm shown by the participants during this project."Stewart Hill, ex-Army Officer, artist and project mentor
Dan Phillips hard at work on his wire sculpture
Final exhibition photo gallery
The Art of Recovery: Review
The Legion invited ex-Household Cavalryman, James Belmont, to review the exhibition. Writing was a real source of support and vitally important to James as he went through cancer treatment at the age of 25; it was his own creative method of recovery. He has continued to enjoy writing as a hobby and a way to express himself.
When I think of the journey of a recovering wounded, injured or sick serviceman, veteran or their families, art is not the first thing that springs to mind. But thanks to The Royal British Legion’s Bravo 22 Company, the Art of Recovery has been realised by nine inspiring individuals.
Sculptor Al Johnson was barely able to hold back tears as she relayed to the exhibition crowd the journey that the budding sculptors went through over the past four weeks.
To express yourself and to show such emotion and vulnerability shows some of the greatest courage I have ever seen. Courage to portray yourself - sure a metal mesh version of yourself but yourself all the same - emotions and all.
This project has successfully given the Armed Forces community another amazing outlet to express their emotions. Despite their trials and tribulations, their insecurities and vulnerabilities; the newly found sculptors’ lives have been changed through the Art of Recovery.
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