The Shadowlight Artists, who all have learning disabilities, are over 50% through their new Arts Council of England funded project “Shadowlight Artists: Rising”. The group are either part way through, or have completed their individual projects. They have also created a new group website shadowlightartists.org.uk
The exhibition phase is confirmed for this autumn with a three and half week exhibition over two sites, Modern Art Oxford and Old Fire Station, with a full production of Russell Highsmith’s play being performed on two nights at Old Fire Station Theatre just before the exhibition starts.
At the start of the project, there was a group development phase supported by project lead artist Chris Oakley. This included finding collaborative artists for each Shadowlight Artist to work with. The group have also held monthly planning meetings to provide mutual project support, and to plan the exhibition phases of this project.
Danny Smith has worked with artist Roly Carline to create a dance for camera piece, which involved creating an elaborate “Fish God” costume with iconography representing Danny’s life. The work has been choreographed and shot in the studio and on location at Henrhyd Falls in Wales and is now in postproduction to completed early July.
Following on from winning the Shape Open in 2017, Richard Hunt is collaborating with autistic artist Sonia Boue to create an installation using painted sculptural elements and video projection. The project is almost complete with just one additional session needed to film the completed work.
Lucy Skuce collaborating with Chris Oakley has completed her installation project which involves video projection on a large sash window sculpture of her design. Using live action and CGI, the projection is Lucy in her imagined perfect room. For the viewer, the piece is like looking through a window into Lucy’s imagined world.
Russell Highsmith has written a full-length theatre play based on his experiences of dating and relationships as a disabled person. He is currently being supported by Ralph Mark Bowman to produce further drafts. Casting and rehearsals are planned for the summer with the play being performed in September.
Tom Breach is creating an animated film based on a childhood experience which spirals into a present-day fantasy. Tom has drawn all the characters and backgrounds in his distinct style, and he is working with Chris Oakley to animate the piece. The project is due for completion in June.
Mark Hemsworth is creating large multi-image photographic prints for exhibition, each made up of over two hundred images. The work explores Marks obsession with collecting images of particular subjects which include sunsets, the moon and aeroplane trails. The photography and design is complete, with the work being sent for print in June. He is also making a contextual video that explores how his autism affects him, collaborating with autistic filmmaker Naomi Morris.
The group have also completed one group film based project, recruiting new artists with learning disabilities. A second was shot this June with the Shadowlight Artists Associates Group (developing new potential core group members). They are also creating a new catalogue for the exhibition, and planning further participation workshops.