Exhibition by Alan Patterson
Launch Tue 9th August at 6pm, all welcome
In the past, people with learning disabilities were given labels by society. These were often derogatory, offensive and today totally unacceptable. They were to be pitied, shunned or locked away from public view. Thankfully things have changed for the better and this no longer happens.
However, having worked with adults with special needs I came to the conclusion that society in general today, unconsciously defines people by their disability. For instance, the guy in the wheelchair is always the guy in the chair, not Stephen the person. The girl with Downs Syndrome is not seen by some people as a person in her own right, instead she is the "wee downs girl."
I came to see adults with special needs as no different to anybody else. They each had their own individual personalities, their own hopes, dreams and ambitions; no different to you or I.
This is where the genesis of this exhibition came from. Hence the title: No Labels. I decided to paint some of the adults I had come to know and convey their personalities through these portraits. I also believe adults with special educational needs are under-represented in society. Hopefully, this exhibition will begin to redress the balance and make people think: to see the person behind the syndrome, not the label.