As part of the touring film screenings of work produced by the shortlisted artists selected for the Jarman Award 2020, Kate Adams and Tim Corrigan, Project Art Works, have been sharing their film work, talking about what neurodiversity means and our programmes. Here Kate reflects on how our work intersects notions of art, freedom and care.
In this context the word freedom could be perceived as a challenge. Somehow our understanding of care is not aligned with freedom. Therefore, sitting as it does here between ‘art’ and ‘care’ it becomes a statement aligned with action.
The best care promotes, nurtures and strives for freedom. It has to have this underlying cause for the individual. Culturally this is not understood. Care is of course about tending, supporting, loving and constructive companionship. But it should always be attentive to freedom both for the cared for and the care giver. The freedom to be, to choose, to take risks, to exist without externally or culturally imposed constraints, most specifically the social constraints of perceived identity. The films Jon & Jamie and Illuminating the Wilderness challenge preconceptions about disability and provide an experience focussed on freedom. The conditions that provide freedom for everyone involved.
New Year’s Day is an intimate portrait of a young man, entirely free to both be in the landscape and to be free from the gaze of others. The imposition of culturally acquired identity. He is charged by the wind and the wide, reflective, temporal space of the shore. It could equally have been given the title This is a Man.
In Jon and Jamie, freedom operates on a similar level in that Jamie pushes the boundaries of the experience (there is a beautiful interplay between his echolalic expressions “look alive, my bumping Christmas” and the edited out “Stop it. Stop it now or I’ll smack you”). The freeform, open and sensory exploration of paint is a visceral revelation. In removing constraints and opening the way together they follow a perfect arc of cause and effect – both sensorily and emotionally. Jamie in his pleasure and excitement follows this through to challenge the limits of the exchange. Jon allows his surprise to exist without the anticipated consequences. In doing so he provides the freedom for Jamie to connect – not just with the materials but emotionally so that in order to ‘care’ for Jon, to reveal his concern, Jamie equalises the situation by covering himself in green paint. Like a perfect equation, the session finds its balance.
They shared an experience. Love and paint and freedom. A moment in time and a demonstration of what is possible.
Kate Adams, Artist, CEO and Director – Project Art Works – 18.11.20.
Art. Freedom. Care is a new programme funded by Three Guineas Trust and Paul Hamlyn Foundation. This programme highlights the creative and social contribution of people with complex needs, families and support workers.
Jamie & Jon
New Year’s Day