Written by Zara Mahmood at London Arts and Health
Video by Chris Haddock, Iron and Glass
At London arts and health we are deeply interested in promoting works and exhibitions of organisations who focus on people’s mental wellbeing using arts and a holistic approach for healing. We went down to the Zabludowicz Collection for the ‘Just … as an artist’ exhibition to look and talk about the amazing works that are being produced at Portugal Prints through their works.
Please tell us a bit about Portugal Prints and the work you do? How is it run?
Portugal Prints is a therapeutic arts project within Mind in Brent, Wandsworth and
Westminster. Together, we make art to build better lives.In collaboration with our artists, we run art workshops at the Portugal Prints studio as well as offering gallery visits, one-to-one support and development opportunities.
We support artists living with mental health difficulties to construct a life beyond the services, a life of creativity and curiosity. We believe that art can empower people to express themselves, to build resilience and to nurture meaningful relationships.
How is the word ‘artist’ used around the work that you do?
We call our service users “artists” because we want to celebrate that the support we provide is based on meaningful social and creative relationships.
Has your work made a positive change and impact on the artists, if so please tell us more?
Portugal Prints gives our artists a space to be creative and be recognised for their art, rather than their mental health difficulties. Our workshops help people to develop their artistic practice as well as soft skills. By becoming part of our artistic community, our artists gain a sense of belonging and a sense of achievement and confidence in their abilities. Through consistent and long-term support, Portugal Prints aims to increase our artists’ self-esteem as well as their insight and resilience in their recovery journey.
You can see more about our impact here.
Please tell us a bit about the exhibition ‘Just as an artist’?
Just… As an Artist is an exhibition celebrating the work of our artists in collaboration with our first Artist in Residence, Sikelela Owen. The residency and the exhibition would not have been possible without the generous support from Arts Council England and the Zabludowicz Collection.
The exhibition realises our artists’ demand to be seen, recognised and appreciated as creative people rather than by their biographies or any other marker of identity. To be seen just as an artist is to be an artist only and an artist exactly; it is to engage with the world primarily through curiosity and creativity. It is a demand that is difficult to make – not least, because we hope the way that we want to be seen will be reflected back, shaping how we see ourselves.
What was your favourite piece or was there a specific piece that stood out to you?
We are so proud of everyone’s hard work in the exhibition. It is a precious thing to see the diversity of our artists’ work represented. Behind each piece, there is a powerful story and we love them all!
What do you hope to see for the future of Portugal Prints?
In the Spring 2022, we will be collaborating with the Whitechapel Gallery in parallel to their exhibition, A Century of the Artist’s Studio. We hope to continue running projects that make our artists visible to the art world.
What impact do you hope to make in the community?
We hope our exhibition gives each of our artists a chance to be seen and heard in the wider community. We believe that art is at its most powerful when the artist and audience can enter into a dialogue as equals. We hope that the exhibition will begin some meaningful conversations about art making in difficult times.
If anyone would like to collaborate with yourselves or contact you how can they?
We are always looking to collaborate!
Call us on 02072677809, or email us firstname.lastname@example.org. We are based in Arlington House in Camden.
You can also follow Portugal Prints on instagram.