Artists: Artists from the Daybreak day service. Led by: Mandeep Kallu. Pawel Jedrzejewski, Gary Cordingley, Nadia Iftkhar, Ed Blazey, Kate McCormik, Martin Robinson, and NOVAK.
At: The Baltic, Newcastle
Produced by: GemArts, Daybreak and BALTIC
Date: 22-24th November 2013
A bewildering exhibition created by artists with learning disabilities, is being held at the BALTIC in Newcastle for only a few days. It features multimedia aspects such as films, music and sculpture; all coming together to show an alternative viewpoint: how disorientating the world can seem to those with disabilities. It is also a record of what people with learning disabilities CAN achieve.
The facilitators of the exhibition led artists from the Daybreak centre, and allowed them to create music (via innovative technology), by eye- movements or waving their arms. The result is an exhibition that is strong, loud and hard-hitting. It often presents a confusing mixture of flashing lights and blasts of music.
The first room of the exhibition was a psychedelic film. Small, different-coloured rectangles fitted together to complete a larger image. The images and the sound that accompanied them achieved their aim of expressing how it feels to have learning disabilities. I left the room feeling slightly dizzy- but in a good way. The film had shown me something that would have otherwise been almost impossible to understand.
The second room was a welcome break from the loud music of the other two rooms. On show were a variety of sculptures made from clay, papier mache and even bubble-wrap. They seemed to be animals and human figures of various kinds. I enjoyed the shapes and textural details. Unfortunately, in terms of curation, more information could have been given about the work; even the basics such as why and how the pieces had been made was left a mystery.
The third room of the exhibition was another technological display of colours, film and sound. The track playing was a combination of a calm narrating voice and seemingly random sounds. Part of the narration was speaking about the dreams of some of the artists. The voice repeated lines such as “I would travel around the world and play concerts every day.” There was also a display of flashing colours projected onto 3D shapes; and cubes sunk into the floor.
Overall it is an exciting, though brash exhibition; providing plenty of insights into something that most of us could never usually begin to imagine.