Art exhibition celebrates diversity and achievements of people in Gloucester

An art exhibition celebrating the diversity and achievements of people in Gloucester is now open at GL1 Leisure Centre which is part of Aspire Sports and Cultural Trust.

The portraits of well-known local people are painted by Russell Haines, a stroke survivor who discovered his talent as an artist during his rehabilitation from stroke and depression. The exhibition is called ‘Tales from a City, part of which has previously been on display in the Tower of London and at Gloucester Cathedral Cloisters, in Russell’s ‘Faith, Hope and Charity’ exhibition.

Talking about the exhibition, Russell Haines said: “For what seems like an eternity now, COVID has restricted us in almost every conceivable way. As an artist who wants people to experience the work that I do ‘in the flesh’, I have found that it has been hard to see the scale and the details up close in our new online normal. That is why this opportunity to exhibit in a space like GL1 is so exciting, as it allows us to try and get back to seeing and experiencing art like we used to, but in a place that is perhaps unexpected but actually very apt.”

Aspire is dedicated to helping local people achieve their health, wellbeing, and fitness goals. Part of this includes supporting and facilitating health recovery journeys, such as for those who have survived strokes, cancer, and other illnesses.

Furthermore, the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a lot of people feeling lonely and cut off from their community. Russell’s art exhibition is a fantastic reason for people to interact with others, but will also visually highlight the diverse, vibrant, and exciting community which aspire and its members are a part of. We hope that this exhibition will help facilitate bringing the community back together.

Jacquie Douglas, Chief Executive of Aspire Sports and Cultural Trust, is delighted that Russell has agreed to exhibit this amazing artwork at the charity’s GL1 facility. She said: “We are so pleased to have the exhibition at GL1 – it is a really striking and poignant addition to the space we have here. Russell’s recovery from ill-health is a great example of what can be achieved in the face of adversity – and what better time to showcase his work, in the heart of the City, as we continue our community recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“GL1 is a place where physical and mental wellbeing is at the heart of all that we do, and I would encourage everyone to pop into GL1 and discover the joy of Russell’s work. Aspire is a charitable trust which was set up to support and celebrate local people, so we couldn’t be more pleased to partner with Russell and display an exhibition that is so personal to Gloucester.”

The exhibition is free to visit during GL1’s opening hours and we encourage local people to enjoy it.