Posted on Friday 13 December 2013 by Jigsaw NI

On 6th December 2013, the “Identity” art exhibition and the unveiling of Jigsaw NI’s “Four Seasons” mural in the main hall of Divis Community Centre took place.

Jigsaw NI applied and received funding from the National Lottery through the Arts Council of NI (small grants programme) to run a 12 week art project with an exhibition at the end. The project involved 5 art groups (2 in West Belfast, 2 in East Belfast and 1 group in Bangor), which are made up of service users with varying types and levels of disabilities. The groups meet for two hours each week in local community centres. 

Artists (Shauna McCann, Maria Duddy and Betty Brown) with specific skills in different mediums such as ceramics, mosaic and mural painting worked with the service users over the 12 week period. The art form/technique used by each service user focused on their particular strengths and the final pieces of work exhibited were great. 

The mural consists of four jigsaw pieces that slot together, with each one dedicated to a certain season and style of Art. Four of the groups worked on a jigsaw piece each and the fifth group completed the title/strapline, to let all know who created the piece. 

The individual pieces are a combination of 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional work and allowed the participants to express themselves freely in an art form they preferred. Each participant had at least one of their best works displayed at the exhibition for all to see and everyone was very impressed with the finished pieces.

Arts council lottery

The “Four Seasons” mural was unveiled by Charles Ware, Chairperson of Jigsaw NI. This was the first time service users viewed the completed mural, as each group would only have seen their own piece up until the unveiling. Charles congratulated all the groups, volunteers and artists on the beautiful mural, thanked the National Lottery through the Arts Council of NI for funding the project and thanked Divis CC for housing the mural and for their continued support to Jigsaw NI. He finished off with a special thanks to the 3 artists and a small presentation to them took place. 

When first approached by Clare McQuiston, manager of Jigsaw NI, Edel Murphy, small grants officer for the Arts Council for NI, said that she was very keen for Jigsaw NI to put in an application. Edel attended and spoke at the exhibition saying “I am not surprised to see the great work on display; I knew it would be of a high standard.” Edel congratulated all involved with the project; saying she “hoped to see another funding application in from Jigsaw NI soon.”  

Participant Paul McCourt said: “When I was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2010, I could not accept that I had it. I was referred to Cedar who later referred me to Jigsaw NI. I owe so much to Jigsaw NI and Shauna for encouraging me and helping me gain confidence again. I really enjoyed doing this project.” 

Four Seasons   Art exhibition

Participant Wendy Bradley added: “I had a brain hemorrhage back in 2002. Jigsaw NI have treated me as an individual, not as the problem other services seem to find me. Jigsaw NI live their mission statement.” 

Praising the participants, volunteers and artists involved Clare McQuiston (Manager of Jigsaw NI) said:  “This was such a worthwhile project for all involved. Congratulations to the participants, volunteers and artists, the exhibition pieces and mural look great. So much time and effort has been put in and looking around, it has all been worth it. Well done to all involved and thanks again to the funder National Lottery through the Arts Council for NI.” 

Four Seasons mural

Photos attached: Four Seasons mural and some of the individual pieces from the exhibition. 

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