Published on 2nd July 2014
The thought-provoking photography display in the foyer of The Wilson, Behold the Man by artist Marksteen Adamson, has been prompting lively discussion since it was unveiled at the beginning of June.
Team members at The Wilson were surprised and delighted when an anonymous donor generously donated £1000 – and then chose to place all the associated donation tokens into a single one of the three compartments of the ‘I Choose’ donation box included in the display.
The display invites visitors to consider three images of Alan, each representing a different state of mind.
It explores issues relating to homelessness, addiction and the complexity around ‘giving’; and is the result of a two year working relationship between artist Marksteen, and Alan who is currently struggling with addiction and living on the streets of Cheltenham.
Each time someone spends £1 on merchandise from the exhibition, they are given a token to place into the ‘I Choose’ element of the display which encourages them to reflect on the display and consider how they would choose to donate. The choices for donation are ‘Sustenation’ (short term solution), ‘Intervention’ (medium term solution) or ‘Prevention’ (long term solution). All donations collected in the ‘I Choose’ box will be invested into programmes focusing on helping people at risk or in recovery from drugs and alcohol misuse. After talking with Marksteen Adamson at The Wilson, last week’s generous donor allocated 1000 tokens (£1000) to the long term solution.
Councillor Rowena Hay said, “Drug addiction and homelessness are both very serious and important issues. I’m pleased that Marksteen Adamson’s display at The Wilson is promoting awareness of these issues and encouraging people in Cheltenham to think about them in a considered way.”
Jane Lillystone, Museum, Arts and Tourism Manager commented, “We’re really pleased that this work is achieving its goals – prompting people to discuss the themes represented and to interact with the display. The responses to the work have been mixed, which we expected, but we are especially pleased that a visitor felt able to make such a large contribution, and that they engaged with the work by actively selecting which method of support they’d like the donation to go towards.”
Notes to editor
The Wilson, Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum re-opened to the public on the 5th October 2013, after a major new build costing in the region of £6 million. Designed by architects Berman Guedes Stretton, the new building offers something for everybody, whether they are local to the area, or coming to Cheltenham for the first time. The Wilson houses an extensive fine art collection, a re-interpreted Arts and Crafts gallery (showing the world-renowned designated collection), and includes two superb temporary exhibition galleries – for showing national and international touring shows, special highlights from the collections and fun shows for families.
The Wilson is also the new home for the town’s tourism services - with the re-location of Cheltenham’s Tourist Information Centre to the Art Gallery & Museum. The Wilson operates as part of Cheltenham Borough Council.
For more details, visit www.thewilson.org and for tourist information, visit www.visitcheltenham.com
I compose and isolate with my lens. I strip away everything that does not add to the story. I aim to find a simple solution by showing an isolated part of a problem in order to understand better the complexities of the greater whole. Using the lens enables me to capture a series of finite human states of mind I would otherwise miss with the naked eye. Using powerful camera technology I am able to record these emotions in extraordinary detail and with greater precision resulting in a deeper realisation of a significant human soul trapped inside a body obscured by a lust for self destruction.
This study is a snapshot of a life in active addiction as lived by Alan, a homeless man in the streets of Cheltenham. Seen through the lens of my understanding I explore my own conflicting emotional responses to his plight and search for an answer that hopefully works for both of us.
The journey isn’t over.