Able2Do Anything: Music & Arts

Exhibition explores archive of photographer diagnosed with dementia

Jason Tilly

A new exhibition has recently opened in Coventry displaying paintings, prints and poetry supporting neurodivergent and disabled people.

The collection at Art Riot Collective [ARC] showcases the artistic talents of 10 artists from the local area, each piece of work explores the archive of a photographer who was diagnosed with dementia.

Jason Tilley, [pictured above] 55, experienced a stroke in 2020 affecting his short-term memory, but thanks to Arts Council England [ ACE] he has been able to revisit his work jogging past memories and creating new ones.

ARC supports a number of artists, some of which have their paintings displayed at national art galleries.

Corinne, who has been bedridden for the five past years, was recently nominated for an award.

Another member, Ismatjahan Ravat, was approached to produce art for a city centre.

Its Creative Director Kyla Craig said it's an “important” project shining the spotlight on artists who fall into marginalised communities.

Ms Craig told BBC News: "We're really passionate about being an exclusive and inclusive studio to help support these artists.”

Kitty Kaur is another contributor, she produced a “sensory installation” around Tilley’s memories.

The artist said being part of the neurodivergent art community can feel “isolating and a struggle”, but working on the project has been “eye-opening”.

"It’s about his good memories as well as those that have fizzled out," she explained, "creating lost memories so they are re-lived".

At an adjoining gallery you can see a second exhibition of Tilley’s photographs dating back to when he worked at local and national newspapers as well as exploring his Anglo-Indian heritage.

Small replicas of his images have been produced by Saira-Jayne Jones, who has also painted a portrait of Tilley.

"When you see photography, you sometimes forget about the person behind the camera," she said.

"It’s both about identity and losing yourself."

picture of a colonel in front of a brick wall d

The Morning After

The exhibition also includes a piece of work called The Morning After [pictured above], by Will Haywood, inspired by a photo Tilley took of a trumpeter in Delhi.

"This re-ignited memories of my band visit to Delhi, where I wore a jacket not too dissimilar and shared Jason's hangover experience from too many bottles of Hayward 5000 beer," Haywood said.

Then there's an interactive installation which blends art and education based on bell ringing by Elizabeth Hundnott.

The artist told BBC News: "When you come in and see other artists work on the walls and it's all very sensory and a lot of the work includes patterns and bright colours, which really makes me feel calm and relaxed."

Tilly has loved working with the artists, he said: "If I could continue doing it for the next 10 or 20 years it would really help.

"It always helps to meet other people and to meet artists is especially good as they are always lovely people."

[ Jason Tilley's photography is on show at Commonground, Fargo Village from 16 May to 16 June. ]

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