Fourteen ex-Service men and women will be using the mediums of painting, drawing, sculpture and photography to explore themes of “Recovery” in a special exhibition at Kensington and Chelsea College’s Hortensia Road gallery this week.
The artists, all tenants and beneficiaries of Stoll, come from a range of backgrounds and have served in some of the most dangerous conflicts of recent times. Their experiences have affected them profoundly. Derek was one of the first of the occupation forces to enter Belsen towards the end of World War II, while Mac’s time in the Royal Highland Fusiliers included tours of Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Iraq.
Art has played a crucial role in the artists’ post-Services lives. Ian served in the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment and did several operational tours. On leaving the army in 2010, Ian had a hard time adjusting to civilian life. After being housed by Stoll and seeking help from other veteran agencies, Ian began to explore art. Ian likes to draw and paint birds as they represent peace to him and he particularly enjoys sketching the detail on them. He says: “I do this in my home. I hope my future will stay bright – as long as I can paint then I know my spirit is still within me.”
Matthew Kolakowski, the College’s Curriculum Manager for Fine Art and Photography, commented:
“These artists have shown exceptional bravery, not only in terms of serving their country, but in sharing their experiences, reflections and emotions through this exhibition. Their work will resonate for anyone who sees it and the College is honoured to host this exhibition. The artists have also kindly agreed to speak with our students at a seminar, which promises to be a special occasion for all concerned.”
Recovery takes place in the Hortensia Gallery, Kensington and Chelsea College, Hortensia Road, London SW10 0QS, from Tuesday 13 March – Thursday 22 March (10am-5pm). A Private View is on Thursday 15 March (6pm-8pm).
Stoll (charity no. 207939) is the leading provider of supported housing to vulnerable Veterans. Stoll provides a unique combination of housing, health and wellbeing support to vulnerable and disabled ex-Service men and women. Stoll has over 150 properties at Stoll Mansions on the Fulham Road.
Kensington and Chelsea College runs an exciting and well-regarded range of creative arts courses at its Kensington and Chelsea centres, from short courses to HNDs and BA top-up degrees, encompassing fine art, photography, design, pottery, glassmaking and jewellery.