RED Inc helps youth with disabilities realise art dreams

POSITIVE RESPONSE: Christopher Wilkinson of RED Inc Lismore with his artwork New Face of Luna Park that is part of the annual RED Inc exhibition that will open on Friday night.
POSITIVE RESPONSE: Christopher Wilkinson of RED Inc Lismore with his artwork New Face of Luna Park that is part of the annual RED Inc exhibition that will open on Friday night. Doug Eaton

RED Inc is hosting its seventh annual exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in Lismore.

The exhibition features an eclectic mix of works with artists displaying self-portraits through to pop-art cartoon caricatures.

RED stands for "realising every dream" and is a service for young people with disabilities.

One of the aims of the organisation is to increase the community profile of artists with disability.

RED facilitated the exhibition after working closely with the artists, teaching them new art-making practices and assisting with research for the works.

Christopher Wilkinson is exhibiting and he has created a series of works inspired by news and current affairs.

He has been exhibiting his bright, intricate works for 10 years both nationally and abroad but said what he enjoys most about creating art is the positive response from the community.

He said he was "proud of himself" for completing one of a series of bodies of work in an artistic climate that does not promote equality for those with disability.

"Now when people see me on the street they don't laugh as much and they treat me as an equal when I talk about art," Mr Wilkinson said.

He also noted that one of his favourite artists - Vincent Van Gogh - was one of many famous artists who experienced disability.

RED art facilitator Kerrie Divett said she was proud to see her students' hard work come to fruition.

"It's great to see true artistic intent and research of a personal subject throughout all the works on display," Ms Divett said.

"The exhibition is about breaking away from the idea of art as a therapy model; instead it promotes disability culture and enhances the positive aspects of that culture."

The exhibition will be opened by Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell tomorrow at 5.30pm at the Serpentine Gallery on Bridge St, North Lismore and will run for two weeks.

Members of the public are encouraged to attend the exhibition opening which will feature musicians from RED and light refreshments.



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