It’s week 6 of our latest employment preparation programme and whilst our participants continue their work experience, they’ve also enjoyed a week of art and culture at the House and beyond.

Highlights from the past week include a trip to the Young Vic to see the highly anticipated production of Hamlet starring Cush Jumbo – a modern adaptation of the traditional play; a walking tour of Soho with new Corporate Members the Creative Society, and a 2-hour art workshop with our Art Executive, Sahar Bano Malik.

Sahar is a Visual Artist and Assistant Producer whose work focuses on identity, displacement and belonging whilst exploring many dimensions and complexities. She is also interested in the notions of othering, colonialism, orientalism and capitalism. She uses installation, film, photography, sculpture, performance and sound to create her art.

On Wednesday, our participants and staff came together for a creative afternoon with Sahar – exploring the self, identity, and the benefits of art therapy. Using blank vinyl records donated via our neighbours Phonica Records, everyone created their own piece of expressive art using a mix of acrylic paints.

Art 1

To begin the workshop, Sahar led a discussion on what art can mean on an individual level – how it gives you the opportunity to explore not only the mind, but the layers of identities, personalities and cultures that dwell within us all, as well as who art is for, and the different mediums art comes in. The participants learnt how art can be personal or public, political, and interactive, and shared in the view that art speaks where words are unable.

At the end of the session, each participant shared their finished piece – each varying in style, colour, form and meaning. Kenneth layered his vinyl with poetry – spiraling a whirlpool of words starting with “W” to express how he felt taken by the process. Jane painted her vision for the future – her own utopia that she’ll have one day with her own house, trees, flowers, and evenings of sunsets. Sharyce depicted a Ying and Yang, which was personal to her journey of moving through the dark in her life to grow into the light.

Art 2

The artwork will be displayed in the Employment Academy office and Sahar hopes to continue doing these workshops in future programmes. We can’t wait to see what our participants create next!

To find out more about our Employment Preparation Programme, head – here.