This is Me: This is The Arc

This is Me, currently open at The Arc, Winchester, is a multi-faceted feast of creativity and expression. The exhibition expanded out of our ICE Heritage project work, which centered around identity, creative-self direction and mental well-being. The project invited the local community to contribute portraits in any way they wanted to.

We received a colourful array of heartfelt drawings, paintings and collages, which attest to the identity of The Arc itself as a blossoming space for creativity – for both its visitors and its staff. Unsurprisingly, staff and stakeholders were primed and ready with pencil and paint to articulate their visions of self, community and place to take centre stage at the City Space.

In this article, we look at contributions for each of the three sections.  

This is Me 

This is Me was the central theme of the exhibition and received the most submissions. This wall is full of self-portraits constructed in various witty ways that have been drawn, stitched and stuck.

Visitor Assistants Hilde, Ashton and Jay did themselves proud, putting forth some brilliant pieces on paper. We also had submissions from Winchester Art Club members, local artists and schools, including a beautifully colourful, crafted dress by Greenwood School.  

Positioned prominently above the title of the section, Hilde’s piece is a highly decorative take on the brief, full of warm mountains, floral designs and scrolling volutes in this imagined landscape.

This is Winchester 

Immediately to the right of the main wall is This is Winchester, a section made up of a kaleidoscope of landscapes, buildings, collages and motifs related to the city and its experiences. Here, the countryside and iconic landmarks such as the cathedral dominate, but so do expressively colourful pieces, including the Winchester Scout’s entry. 

Visitor Assistant, Guy, has given us his rendition of This is Winchester, featuring details from the Round Table, the statue of King Alfred and the ancient architecture and designs. 

This is Us 

Joint expressions and representations of groups, partnerships, families and teams fill this wall for the final section, This is Us, with comedic and convivial imagery. In the top right, an amusing addition casts a couple as the figures from the American Gothic in homage to the famous work by Grant Wood.  

The pages of a literal book is the library team’s contribution, and they protrude from the wall, delivering a double page spread full of books (of course), as well as nods to all the facilities provided by the library team and the characters who work there. 

As all the above proves, we have had many fantastic works gifted to us for this exhibition, and we would like to thank all involved. Each piece, little or massive, grand in vision or simple and succinct, has contributed to a vibrant and dynamic exhibition you can all be proud of.

 This is Me is open until the 12 June 2024. Find out more here.

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