The Stephen Lawrence Centre in Lewisham is hosting an exhibition of work by artists with learning and physical disabilities.
Entitled Outsider Art, it presents a range of striking pieces including paintings, sculpture and textile works.
All are by people with learning disabilities who use Lewisham Council’s Lifestyles day care service.
The artists involved are often excluded from mainstream society and the team behind the exhibition hope to help change this.
Junior Calder, manager of the Mulberry Centre, a day care centre in New Cross, said: “This is the first time we’ve really had the chance for our users to get their work out there – we’re really pleased.”
Angela Pinnock, who coordinated the exhibition and manages the Naborhood Centre in Sydenham, said the feedback from local people has been “inspiring”.
She said the aim of the project was to help service users develop and give them a more visible presence in the community.
Nicola Jeffries, from the Mulberry Centre, said the process of making the works had been beneficial to the artists. “We’ve found art is a very therapeutic way of changing behaviour,” she said.
Paul Anderson-Walsh, Managing Director of the Stephen Lawrence Trust, said: “It’s about taking people and giving them a voice, giving them space, saying to them ‘you matter’.”
Hana Smeeth, Creative Programme Manager at the Stephen Lawrence Centre, added that the gallery aims to promote local talent.
“We’re really interested in having this as a serious gallery space for artists with a connection to the local area,” she said.
The centre hosts a rotating programme of exhibitions, each lasting two months.
The Outsider Art exhibition runs until December 16 at the Stephen Lawrence Centre, and will return from January 9 to January 23 at the Albany Centre in Deptford. See the Stephen Lawrence Centre’s website for more information.