The Barnaby Festival takes place in Macclesfield every summer and offers an entertaining mix of film, music and visual and performance art. This year one of its highlights was the Heart & Sold art exhibition at the Mulberry Tree Café in the Heritage Centre. The exhibition features a wide spectrum of work from twelve talented artists that includes short films, photography, oil paintings, pottery and jewellery. What makes these artists exceptional, other than the high standard of work they have collectively produced, is that they all have Down’s Syndrome.
Many of the artists featured are well established, and some, like Lester Magoogan, have exhibited in the Tate Modern. When you see his work it’s not surprising; Lester has universal appeal. His charming black and white line drawings fizz with personality and wit, reflecting his unique way of looking at the world. He’s popular too. He can count the late Spike Milligan, Sir Peter Blake, designer of the iconic St Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, and Jamie Hewlett, comic book artist and artwork designer for The Gorillaz, amongst his admirers.
Tazia Fawley is a talented and commercially successful artist who has been painting for 10 years and produces acrylic paintings in a cubist style. The landscapes she produces are vibrant and evocative, full of life and energy. Working from photographs, Taz is meticulous in choosing the right shot to form the basis of her paintings. This attention to detail is carried right through to the final stroke.
21 year old David Kenward’s chosen medium is photography, and he certainly has an eye for it. He talent has placed him in the top 10 most highly commended photographer in the National Downs Association ‘My Perspective’ Competition in the last two years.
You can get a lovely snapshot of the personalities of all the Heart & Sold artists and their creative inspiration in the exhibition brochure, which also features a series of beautiful portraits by photographer, Paul Moffat.
Talking about the motivation behind the collection, exhibition coordinator, Suzie Moffat says: “We want to give artists with Down Syndrome, their friends and family an opportunity to use Heart & Sold as a platform, to create, educate, inspire, sell, encourage on an ever increasing scale, and prove that art is from the heart and should have no bearing on condition.”
Although some of the pieces offer an insight into how people with Down’s Syndrome define the world around them through art, this isn’t the most striking aspect of the exhibition. The work has a purity and honesty that will touch your heart, and for this reason alone, you should go along.
The Heart & Sold exhibition runs until August 26th at Mulberry Tree Café in the Heritage Centre, Macclesfield. Please support it if you can.