Window exhibition by children living with longterm health conditions comes to Cork

Window exhibition by children living with longterm health conditions comes to Cork

Artists Ashleigh Ellis and Chelsea Canavan. Picture Darragh Kane.

National children’s arts and health charity Helium Arts has launched a new window exhibition in Cork.

‘Our World in a Window’ is an exhibition featuring the animations and mechanised artwork produced by children on the Helium Arts Remote Programme ‘Distance Creates’.

The exhibition will be on display at Civic Offices at Cork City Council from July 22 to July 30.

Since February 2021, children aged nine to 12 living with long-term health conditions have been exploring the world of animation guided by Helium artist Chelsea Canavan.

From tinfoil and claymation characters to foam sculptures and hand-drawn illustrations, the children’s stories have come to life in unique and imaginative ways, showing persistence and creativity in the face of adversity.

Artists Chelsea Canavan and Ashleigh Ellis. Picture Darragh Kane.
Artists Chelsea Canavan and Ashleigh Ellis. Picture Darragh Kane.

The project origins date back to the onset of the pandemic, when Helium Arts began adapting its programmes to digital and postal formats to allow many vulnerable young people to practice their creativity from the safety of their homes.

The goal was to offer respite during these difficult times of social distancing, and support their mental health.

Between 2020 and 2021, Helium Arts’ remote programme increased access to creative psycho-social supports for over 250 children living with long-term health conditions across Ireland, increasing their wellbeing by 44% and in particular doubled participation by families living in rural and regional areas.

Helium Arts founder and CEO, Helene Hugel, said that the exhibition gives a voice to the many children living with health conditions during lockdown.

It symbolically brings their experiences and stories to life in unique and imaginative ways.

“Many of these children have faced multiple challenges during the pandemic, including reduced services and cocooning. This exhibition celebrates their talent, persistence and creativity in the face of adversity,” she said.

Artists Ashleigh Ellis and Chelsea Canavan. Picture Darragh Kane.
Artists Ashleigh Ellis and Chelsea Canavan. Picture Darragh Kane.

Helium artist Chelsea Canavan said that it is “really exciting” that the window exhibition is being brought into the community and shown in spaces and places that are easily accessible for all the families that participated in it over the past 12 weeks.

“Collaborative work is one of my favorite ways to work and I really loved the challenge of making sure everyone’s voice was heard in the process,” she said.

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