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Art project to reframe perceptions of life in care

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Colours of Me

A unique display of art created by young people who have experienced the care system will be unveiled at locations around the Island this weekend – with the hope the works make a lasting impression on all who view them. 

Handmade superheroes – the untold story has been devised by the Isle of Man Voices in Participation (VIP) group, a Children in Care Council made up of young people aged between 7 and 25. Their aim is to monitor and improve the care system, and offer policy makers a young person’s view when decisions about care provision are made. 

The art installations are designed to reflect what care is like for young people, on themes of mental health and emotional wellbeing, inspiration and overcoming barriers. The art works aim to challenge perceptions of children in care and remind the community that a child is a child whatever their circumstances. 

The youngsters have been getting creative with the help of local artists, musicians and members of the Arts Council, and now the installations are set to be widely viewed in public buildings before they come together as one collection for display at the Manx Museum. 

The displays open on Saturday 1 February at the Sea Terminal, the airport, Douglas Library and the National Sports Centre, with the Villa Marina and Noble’s Hospital to follow. 

Director of Children and Families Division, Department of Health and Social Care, Debbie Brayshaw said:

‘This project tackles issues which are relevant and important to young people in care – public perceptions of which are often wide of the mark. This is partly down to negative images in the media and high profile care cases. The reality of living in care is very different to this. 

'The theme of the project ‘Handmade Superheroes’ aims to reduce the stigma attached to care. The concept was shared with us during a visit to the Island by Lemn Sissay poet, broadcaster and care leaver, in 2018. He said children and young people in care are like superheroes such as Harry Potter who was fostered, Superman who was adopted and Cinderella who was an orphan - all children without a family who used extraordinary skills to manage extraordinary situations. 

She added:

‘We hope people will enjoy the installations but also learn about what life is like in care in the Isle of Man. A little understanding goes a long way.’ 

Feedback boxes will be placed at each installation with postcards for the public to comment. 

The seven themed art installations:

  • Weight of words – a free standing structure to be read
  • Kids with super powers – a film and original song with audio
  • Colours of me - art installation
  • Follow my lead - photography installation
  • No limits - handmade patchwork superhero Cape
  • Rewriting history - story books viewers can sit and read
  • Be your own hero - canvas art telling a story through images

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