A project by isle artist Carson Parkin-Fairley with East Kent Mencap, Pie Factory Music, and The Screaming Mary Club will be exhibited at The Wooden Box Gallery in Ramsgate this month.
Carson worked with people with a learning difficulty at the GOLD (Getting On with Learning Difficulties) project at East Kent Mencap, young people from Pie Factory Music and a local women’s social group, The Screaming Mary Club, in a series of art workshops to create Icons of Ramsgate.
The project has been made possible with funding from Arts Council England, and additional funding from Ramsgate Town Council, DelRenzio & DelRenzio Architects, Ramsgate Thrift Store and The Daylight Lab.
Each participant created an icon of themselves; a visual story-telling of their lives, celebrating all that they love. The activity was a self-celebration, which aims to build confidence and elevate the stories of Ramsgate residents.
Carson also created ‘local icons’, who were nominated by the Ramsgate community. They are: John Prentis, fourth generation Prentis Green Grocer, Maxine Morgan, Lead Technician and Manager of Community Projects on Ramsgate Town Council, Sam Battle, musician, composer, and creator of the Ramsgate Synth Museum and This Museum Is Not Obsolete, and three sisters, Fidan, Fulya and Simge Bağdas from Shakey Shakey Fish Bar.
Carson said: “I loved working on the Icons of Ramsgate project, not only because it is a wonderful thing to see an idea actualised and become a reality, but because it has been a joy working with my community. I have a belief that everyone is an icon, all unique and different in our own ways. This project has hit home how true that feeling is.”
Fiona Wonford, East Kent Mencap GOLD Delivery Manager, said: “The whole experience for everyone involved at GOLD has been truly uplifting. Hidden creative talents have been unleashed and confidence has grown as individuals took great pride in sharing their personal life experiences and achievements. Having the artwork displayed in an exhibition is a real first for many and everyone can’t wait to show their friends and family.”
Kirk, East Kent Mencap GOLD member, described his experience at the workshop: “It was good to look back on my life and see it come alive in a collage. I enjoyed being in the group. It was a great team with Carson, Hetty and East Kent Mencap staff. I think the icon’s artwork will be very interesting for the community.”
Carson shared: “I am beyond excited to show it and for everyone to feel elevated from the experience of seeing what they’ve made on a gallery wall.”
The exhibition will be on display at The Wooden Box Gallery, 92 High Street, Ramsgate, from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th November, from 11am to 5pm. Everyone is invited to come and enjoy the Icons of Ramsgate and celebrate members of the local community.