Lifestyle review: Demons and Angels

Demons and Angels
20 June to 31 August
Shoreditch Town Hall, London, EC1


The exhibition of Kids Company’s Demons and Angels: Does it have to be this way? at Shoreditch Town Hall is a celebration of the talent of the young people involved, writes Alison Burrows.

The theme of the art work is an unflinching self-exploration of the experiences of the young artists, which leaves the viewer with nowhere to hide from the stark realities of the lives of some young people growing up in today’s society.

Kids Company was established in 1996 to provide practical and emotional support to children and young people whose parents are unable to provide the care their children need.

Since it opened, the charity has provided support to over 11,000 young people in schools and through their drop-in specialist education college. As demonstrated by the children’s art work, Kids Company clearly goes a long way towards providing the support needed for these aspirational young people to succeed.

Working closely with artists from the charity, the young artists from Kids Company have used a wide variety of media to explore their life experiences. These experiences are not easy. The exhibition explores the young artists’ experiences of fear, pain, violence and death in a manner that is raw and immediate for the onlooker.

Rachel, one of the young artists showcasing her work, says: “This exhibition has enabled me to put my pain into meaning. It now feels justified no longer a private secret, but something other people can see. Now other people can see where I’ve been, I feel less alone.”

At the same time, the exhibition manages to be life-affirming these young people are survivors and have big plans for their future.

The performances on the show’s opening night, as well as the installations, paintings, and videos, all demonstrate that, given a creative canvas, anything is possible.

It is clear from hearing the stories of the young people themselves that their approach to life is the same.

Alison Burrows is a local authority family support manager

➔ Demons and Angels: Does it have to be this way? runs at Shoreditch Town Hall until 31 August. Call 020 7739 6176 for more information.

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