Expressive, abstract, emotional art, which is the work of artists with an assortment of disabilities, from cerebral palsy to autism and Down syndrome, is now on display at the Sugarbowl restaurant in Edmonton, Canada.
Created by clients of the Robin Hood Learning Center and facilitated by musician and community rehabilitation worker Mark Davis, the artwork includes wonderful examples of floral pointillism, water colors, and more idiosyncratic but nonetheless exuberant, expressive styles.
Davis has been involved with Robin Hood for 12 years during which time he has been managing drop-in art classes for his physically and mentally challenged clients. On his list of accomplishments is the creation of artistic Christmas cards and exhibitions at Dow Centennial Center in Fort Saskatchewan and Sherwood Park’s Art Gallery.
The prints on display at the Sugarbowl are for sale. The $125 that each one costs will be divided equally between the artist and the center, which now must pay for all of its own supplies. Donations from other independent organizations also help keep Robin Hood up and running.
Not all the artists are included in this show, as Davis, who also acts as curator, explains:
“While I don’t want to influence their art, it’s my subjective opinion that gets it out there. I want it to be a presentable piece of work. If there’s discrimination I don’t see an issue — everyone wants to be
a rock star. But if we want to normalize life for people with disabilities, we also have to expose them to the dignity of risk, put them in a challenging position where they can end up failing, because that’s reality.”
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