Unfolding Shrines

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You’ve been surrounded by the same four walls for some time now. Outside, the structures of society are shaking. Shape Arts invites you to explore the captivating worlds of four artists; rooms of cartoon strangeness, tender tribute, and unfolding shrines. Allow these augmented realities to seep into your own as the walls around you expand. 

Contains flashing lights, vivid colours, and sound effects. QR code which, when scanned, opens a webpage from where you can download the app.

Unfolding Shrines is part of the Adam Reynolds Award programme, Shape Arts’ flagship award established in 2008 in memory of the life and work of sculptor Adam Reynolds. It is designed to support a mid-career disabled artist or artists through funding and exhibition opportunities. Jason Wilsher-Mills was the recipient of the ARA in 2020 and it is largely due to his ongoing collaboration with Hot Knife Digital Media that this group show was possible.

This exhibition features the work of artists Jason Wilsher-Mills, Sophie Helf, Rebekah Ubuntu, and Uma Breakdown, developed and designed in collaboration with Hot Knife Digital Media. The Shape Arts team are: Jeff Rowlings, Elinor Hayes, and Jane Sammut, the visual identity was designed by Mina Owen, and the access providers and creators: Ian Rattray, Hugh O’Donnell and Nikki Champagnie Harris.

With thanks to Arts Council England, Garfield Weston Foundation, Cultural Recovery Funds, and schuh for making this exhibition possible. Supported through the Mayor of London’s Culture at Risk Business Support Fund and the Creative Land Trust, we also thank the National Lottery Community Fund for their emergency COVID-19 Coronavirus Community Support Fund grant, supporting Shape artists under COVID-19 lockdown.  

The works in this show are products of the continued innovation and dedication of artists working through lockdown.

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The app is available on iOS and Android (Android Nougat 7 and above). If you are unable to download it, you can watch the full film here.

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Within a gallery-like room of vivid colours, with every surface covered by swirling designs and prints, framed artworks are mounted along the walls while before us stands a goddess-like figure with four arms - reminiscent of depictions of Kali, altho In a greyish evening New York street setting, photographs of shops, cafes and graffitied walls seem to come to life, framed by the overhead decking of the local train line. In the centre of the frame, an oversized image of graffiti reading ‘Cheat death in NYC’ attracts attention.
A digital field full of grass, with trees surrounding a large black screen. On the left of the screen grows a small plant with purple flowers, also digitally rendered. On the screen itself, text in capital letters reads “Rebekah Ubuntu.” On top of a grey and white grid, illustrated comic figures - in bright pinks and greens - sit, surrounding a box of text. The text, written in pink font, reads: “Alien rays cut through the padding of propranolol. Nerves should be soft not sharp, or at least they should be kept safe and held, like enamel holds a smooth bone around the networks in a tooth. That bit above the surface, the bit of the tooth in your mouth.”

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Arts Council England logo. The Garfield Weston Foundation logo The Lottery Heritage Community Fund logo
The schuh logo The Culture Recovery Funds logo Image result for creative land trust logo

Banner image: (c) Photo Moments, 2020 Work by Jason Wilsher-Mills.


Website:  https://www.jwmartist.co.uk/

Affiliation with Shape:

Exhibiting artist in the ILHAM exhibition in Qatar. Featured in our Shape Collection & exhibited at the Shape Open.

Artist Statement  

Art has always played a pivotal role in Jason Wilsher-Mills life and as a child he remember being asked what he wanted to be when he grows up. His answer was ‘to be an artist’.

Jason became very ill as an 11 year old, which caused him to be paralysed from the neck down for 5 years. Throughout this time of complete paralysis Jason attended a special school and painted with a specially designed ‘mouthpiece’.

Jason was 16 when he regained his mobility, as his condition had gone into remission.

In December 2011 Wilsher-Mills purchased an iPad several days after Christmas, after much soul searching and research into what would be the best way to start making art again. David Hockney had seemingly made making art on an iPad ‘legitimate’.

This purchase was a pivotal moment for Wilsher-Mills, as it helped him decide to become a full time artist.

 'Memory Boogie Woogie Boogie' (What my Dadddy Did in the War)

Wilsher-Mills images reflect the issues relating to his disability, and the illness, which took his mobility away, in a way, which he stated, I hope is sometimes humorous and most importantly what I call ‘good art’.

Making art on an iPad has given Wilsher-Mills a great deal of freedom and enabled him to once again produce complex images, anywhere and at any time. These paintings are then printed using the Giclée printing method, and can be printed up to a very large scale.

Using an iPad means that the surface is negotiable on which Wilsher-Mills makes his art, but the integrity of the image is not. It also affords him the opportunity to work anywhere, using the small 9 x 7 inch screen to create digital paintings, which as he had said can be printed to very large sizes.

A woman in a wheelchair in the creative style of Jason - there are pipes coming out of her and she has a mask over her face. Her shoes are bright red and her skin is patterned with pink and yellow flowers.

Pagan God Sculpture 2020. 

Wilsher-Mills has exhibited throughout the world and was fortunate to be commissioned to create 2 banners for the House of Parliament ‘Road to Freedome’ exhibition in 2015. Wilsher-Mills undertook a residency and exhibition at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar with the support of the British Council.

In the past 5 years Wilsher-Mills has worked with over 20,000 participants on residencies, including a one year artist in residency with Wakefield Trinity RLFC.


Click here to view all Shape artist profiles