Expressions has had a positive impact on Robert’s well-being since he joined the group sessions. He loves painting and uses his art to communicate with others
Robert has lived at our Vassall Road service since 1998, but after his father sadly passed away, Robert missed him deeply and chose not to speak for many years. But around 2004, the manager at the time imitated a funny noise from a film they were watching together, and Robert surprised everyone by copying it. A breakthrough! “The staff team would make sounds, and I would mimic them. I found my voice again!”.
When Robert started at Expressions, our art group and studio for people with a learning disability, he started to tell his stories through his artwork. Robert would paint and then talk to his support worker who would write the story on top of the painting. “I have lots of fun stories to tell!”
Family and friends mean the world to Robert, and he enjoys talking about them. And with seven siblings he certainly has many stories to tell. He finds comfort by visiting his parent’s graves and placing flowers for them, saying “Each night I look up to the moon and say ‘Goodnight’ to mum, dad and Peter”.
Agata, the Service Manager at Vassall Road said: “Rob loves painting and uses his art to communicate with others. During the pandemic, he really missed attending the sessions and when the restrictions were lifted he couldn’t wait to go back. He enjoys the social aspects as well as the art – the group makes him happier and more motivated.”
Robert recently said ”I am glad I had the support and encouragement to use my voice. I now tell people what I like.”
Robert’s artwork has been displayed and sold at Spike Island as well as at the Expressions ‘Imagined Landscapes’ exhibition which was held in July 2022. He created six paintings in total for this, in a series called Faces. Using acrylic paint and controlled brush strokes Robert created images that looked like faces in a crowd, which are displayed as framed giclee prints on fine art paper. One piece from the series was sold at the exhibition, but for any budding art collectors out there, the rest are available to buy from Expressions!