Creative arts company Heart and Soul which gives a platform to artists with learning disabilities are celebrating their 30th anniversary with a series of exhibitions and events across Deptford.
Co-founded by Pino Frumiento and Mark Williams after they met in a music academy in 1986, they have gone on to help people with learning difficulties cultivate their musical skills. Both were awarded MBEs in 2010 for their services to disability arts.
As part of the events, the organisation has converted a former HSBC building in Deptford into an art collage to demonstrate their work to local people. Local baker Jane Humbleton said: “It’s great having something so colourful at your doorstep, it really puts Deptford on the map and shows the strength of our community. “
The anniversary celebration is being called The Big 30 and the work of 30 musicians and artists who have worked with Heart and Soul is being showcased in exhibitions all over Deptford.
Deptford Lounge will be hosting a portrait installation photographed by Franklyn Rodgers. Each picture has s story behind it, that the artist wanted expressed within the photograph.
In his picture of the founders Pino and Mark, they asked for their love for music and co-operation to be shown. Rodgers worked with 30 of the artists to insure that their work and creativity is on show in each portrait.
The Albany will be showing artwork with the inclusion of videos and audio and local restaurant Buster Mantis will be hosting comic book illustrations that cover themes such as autism and mental health. You can find the rest of their installations at www.thebig30.com/the-installation/
The Albany in Deptford is the main base for Heart and Soul, They run events such as Squidz club which lets young people with learning disabilities to showcase their creativity in the company of friends and family as well as the Hearts and Soul Choir.
“We work with other organisations all over London, but Deptford is most definitely our home,” said Sandra Reynold, Communications Manager for Heart and Soul.
Reynold explained ELL how Frumiento and Williams met.
“Mark is our artistic director and chief executive, and Pino is an artist, singer and song writer. They met at the Lewisham Academy of Music, which was a local music resource in Deptford. Mark was running some music sessions and ended up doing some sessions with people with learning disabilities including Pino.”
At the core of Heart and Soul is the desire to show the type of work that can be achieved when people from across the board get together. “We wanted to capture the stories of people with learning disabilities. We learned the stories of people with learning disabilities are not always covered so we wanted to address that,” said Reynold.
The Big 30 will continue until July 30; a full itinerary of events can be found here.