THE fruits of a year-long project designed to prove that art is accessible to everyone have gone on display.
We Don’t Need Culture saw artist Karl Rudziak spending time at social clubs and community centres around Somers Town in Portsmouth, getting to know people and gaining their trust before asking them to sit for him.
The resulting 30 paintings have now gone on show at the Somers Town Community Hub.
Karl, who usually works from a studio at The Hot Walls in Old Portsmouth, said: ‘I’m not down there all the time any more, but the council officers who are tell me it’s had quite an impact.
‘I think some of the people are a bit bemused, and some don’t like it, if I’m honest, but generally it’s been an upbeat reception. Some are quite chuffed to have their picture up there. We’re trying to break down that hierarchy in art between high and low culture and I think this has been a good start.’
Edgbaston House resident Maria Cole said: ‘This is about making people more aware of what art is about. It’s not just about landscapes and seascapes – it’s about real people as well.
‘People like the fact that they can recognise the people in the paintings and that these are paintings of people they know well and can relate to.’
And the project has proved so successful that Karl was won further funding from Arts Council England and Portsmouth City Council to extend it in to Paulsgrove.
He added: ‘I’m doing it all again. I’m popping up there three times a week and have already got to meet some real characters.
‘We’re going to create a pop-up exhibition up there soon.’
We Don’t Need Culture is on display in the Somers Town Community Hub, available to view during regular opening hours.