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City arts project sees local residents create their own portraits
An arts project which saw participants create portraits after being inspired by portraits in Aberdeen's Town House and the House of Commons will go on show at The Lemon Tree on Thursday 21 February.
The project organised by Aberdeen City Council's Arts Development staff gave the group the opportunity to explore and understand portraits held in two political collections.
The first is based in the Town House, Aberdeen and the second collection is in the Houses of Parliament and Portcullis House, London.
The project began with a tour of Aberdeen Lord Provosts portraits which led to a lot of discussion about the different symbolism and styles incorporated in each painting.
The participants then went on a tour of the Art in Parliament collection accompanied by curators and Aberdeen MP Frank Doran, who is the chair of the Speaker's Advisory Committee. The committee commissions new artworks and oversee the role of the curators; who organise tours, commission new work and maintain this huge collection of historic works.
The project helped participants develop an understanding of commissioned portraiture and consider the four people involved in the process; the commissioner, the artist, the sitter and the viewer and how they all influence the development of a portrait. The initiative also gave an insight into local and national history.
The group then applied this learning to develop their own oil paintings which incorporated objects, places and people that reflected aspects of the participants own characters and lives.
Aberdeen City Council's community arts manager (acting) Elspeth Winram said: "Everyone involved in this project have said that they have been very motivated, enthusiastic and fully involved in this cultural activity. Participants felt that by being involved in the project their skills, self-esteem and confidence had grown. They also felt they had a greater understanding of our heritage."
Abeer Eladany, who took part in the project said: "Through this project I feel more confident in voicing my opinion when it comes to portraiture and a have better understanding of British history."
Fellow participant Lynne Digby added: "I enjoyed looking back at people's portraits over hundreds of years and how fashions have changed while people's expressions haven't changed that much."
While would-be artist Alice Smith added: "It was amazing to see the Houses of Parliament and the portraits which are remarkable. The artists made the subjects look so real by the way they painted their clothes and other details."
The exhibition includes photographs of the project, the participants on their tours of the Town House and the Houses of Parliament.
The exhibition runs until Monday 29 April 2103.
The project was funded through Arts Development, a Vibrant Aberdeen Cultural Grant and through the Fairer Scotland fund.