Born: 1966 | Coming to VA since: 2007 | Artforms: Ceramics, digital drawings, textiles, photography
Proudest VA moment: “I’m proud of my hard work. Being happy and making good friends.”
Robert’s artwork is full of colour and joy, reflecting his sunny and optimistic outlook on life.
What makes Robert so happy?
“Taking photographs makes me happy. And going on holidays. I’m going to Benidorm this year – I’ll go to the café, the beach and the disco. I’ll have a beer and a laugh, and I’ll wear sunglasses and a short sleeve summer shirt.”
He has a gift for ceramics, making things like fruit pies which look good enough to eat. He also creates beautiful paper and textile works about holidays, picnics and good times.
Robert works as a Venture Arts ‘learning mentor’ on our Schools Projects, and has a great rapport with the young people that he teaches. In these projects, school pupils explore new creative techniques whilst also learning to respect people with learning disabilities.
A pupil at Robert’s most recent Schools Project commented: “They helped us with the things we got stuck on and they had amazing skills. I’ve not met anyone with learning disabilities before and they were very friendly.”
Robert has a great deal of joy in his life. But life can be incredibly hard for learning disabled people. It’s a sad fact that they have lower confidence and wellbeing, with a far greater likelihood of anxiety and poor mental health. This is overwhelmingly due to the negative attitudes of other people.
Venture Arts is a lifeline for learning disabled people in Manchester: a place where they are valued, respected, and can be themselves without any fear of stigma.
As Robert says –
“It’s a happy place. People at Venture Arts make me happy, it’s full of kind people with good hearts.”