Sudley House has a new display called Enigma: An Era of Wealth and Contradiction which was born from a collaboration between Mersey Care NHS Trust and The Artists Group (TAG). Enigma is the eighth Sudley project. It was devised and delivered by TAG artists Sue Williams and Steve Rooney, together with support from Dot Maloney. A creative writing aspect was developed by poet Pauline Rowe.
The project engaged service–users from Mersey Care NHS Trust, and provided an opportunity for creativity both artistically and through words. It offered the chance for people to explore ideas about their own personal journeys and recovery through the support of experienced artists. The collaboration not only reflected the actual creative process between the service-users and the artists, but also the shared aims and ethos between Mersey Care NHS Trust, National Museums Liverpool and TAG.
The theme for the Enigma exhibition was ‘Victorian Life’ – an era of contradiction. A major influence on the era came from the Industrial Revolution, which contributed to producing the ‘opposites’ of extreme wealth and extreme poverty, grandeur and squalor. TAG worked with the group to create this art installation of individually made artwork. The idea of the box as a container was challenging for the group. The work developed as the artist-participant discovered new textures and objects; revisiting the Victorian age through images of industrial architecture, shipping, the words of Dickens and Lewis Carroll, the scents of jasmine, lavender and rose, the menus of afternoon tea, fabrics, photographs and words.
The following paragraph was written by one of the participants, and shows just how valuable the project was:
“The Sudley Art project saved me from Christmas, gave me a reason to keep going and something to look forward to. It also reignited my love of art, creating and learning – in a superb and inspiring environment. The Sudley staff were so welcoming and friendly and our group were helpful, encouraging and very understanding…”