Portraits of Recovery present the launch of “To the Sun, Moon & Stars,” an exhibition showcasing  the transformative power of art in the journey of recovery. 

The launch of the exhibition will feature speakers including PORe director Mark Prest, artist Lois  Blackburn and a special in-conversation with Lois and artist support Kaye Williamson, who will offer  insights into the significance of art in her recovery journey. Finger food will be provided, as well as  craft-making opportunities. 

To the Sun, Moon & Stars started as a series of art-based workshops, led by artist Lois Blackburn. These workshops invited Oldham’s recovery community to create their own art and investigate  individual journeys of recovery, using the ancient tradition of amulets and talismans as inspiration. 

Each workshop focused on themes like – the eye, heart, and words of wisdom. Using a variety of  material-based processes, metal, fabric, stitch, and wire, people created a range of unique artworks  that symbolically speak of their lived experiences.

Creating as a form of collective activism generated new conversations on all things recovery framing  recovery as a realistic, visible, and attainable lifestyle option for Oldham’s community of people in  recovery. 

Mark Prest, CEO and Director of Portraits of Recovery remarks: ‘To the Sun, Moon & Stars’ embodies  our commitment to fostering creativity and community within the journey of recovery. Substance  misuse affects many of us and has long been stigmatized. It is through community experiences, such  as this workshop series, and the telling of stories, at this public exhibition, that we can help change  that.” 

Artist Lois Blackburn says: “Through creativity people in Recovery have shared stories of loneliness  and love, hopelessness to happiness. They have turned their nightmares, hopes and dreams into  artworks. People in Recovery have so much to teach us all.’ 

An anonymous participant to the workshops commented: “In our workshop’s conversation turned to  how hands are used for social connection, as a tool for recovery, sensuality, passion, prayer,  protection, stress, signalling, a stop sign, of boundaries. We also reflected on how they can be  destructive, violent tools. We talked of communicating with our hands, of healing, of rituals in  recovery, of feeling, touching, loving. Of holding hands.” 

Sean Baggaley, Principal Arts & Heritage Officer, Gallery Oldham: “At Oldham Heritage, Libraries &  Arts we are delighted to be showcasing the work and creativity of the participants in this latest  project by Portraits of Recovery. The workshops at Gallery Oldham enabled people to take  inspiration from our collections and be led by an artist to explore themes of magic, protection and  recovery.” 

A Portraits of Recovery project commissioned and funded by Oldham Council Substance Misuse  Team and Action Together. 


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