A unique pop art exhibition has opened at Swindon Hub, the town centre's new community space.
Part of an ongoing programme of events and exhibitions themed around health, wellbeing and creativity, Swindon Hub's 'Dedications to Pei' is a new show of pop art collaborations from around the world.
The artworks were inspired by Italian artist, architect and photographer Pei Pegata, whose near-death accident left him lying in a coma. His friends and artistic collaborators reacted to his absence by combining Pei’s own self-portrait with something unique from each collaborator.
The project has grown to over a hundred images, as artists from all over the world have got involved. The exhibition in Swindon Hub is the first show bringing together a selection of these unique images, including one created by Swindon street artist Keith Bull.
Exhibition organiser Josie Slade said: "The show has helped bring people together, both in Swindon as well as connecting across borders. Social media makes it so easy to connect. Artists from around the world have been getting in touch and sending us their images - and then shouting about the show in Swindon. It’s really put us on the map."
Three other artists are also featured in the current show. Swindon resident Ashley Hunt says he creates art to help him be in the moment, and connect with what's going on around him.
Warren Garland started his online art project during the lockdown - drawings of trees in east London are accompanied by text detailing his memories, the local history and observations he made whilst drawing.
Also participating is Iqbal - a refugee and survivor of torture from Sri Lanka. The Swindon Hub team said through art therapy and support from charity Freedom from Torture, he rediscovered his love for painting, and now uses art as a way to heal from the trauma of being tortured. Several of his pictures are featured too.
The Swindon Hub team say all the artists share the belief that art benefits their mental health in many ways.
Warren added: “The act of drawing focuses the attention into the present and gives the mind respite from worrying about the future or agonising over the past”
“The project also gives me a purpose to go outdoors, explore and interact, which can be difficult when I’m feeling depressed and isolated.”
Based in the former River Island building, Swindon Hub offers a café, retail stands for local crafters, a community arts space, and areas for meetings and events.
The Hub is open to all from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.
Run and staffed completely by volunteers, the project aims to bring life to the town centre, to support communities and people from all Swindon, and to raise awareness of issues around climate and sustainability.
Members of the public can find more information about Swindon Hub on Facebook or at www.swindonhub.org.uk