International Pop Art at Swindon Hub
A unique art exhibition has opened this week at Swindon Hub, the town centre’s new community space.
Part of an ongoing programme of events and exhibitions themed around health, wellbeing and creativity, Dedications to Pei is a new show of pop art collaborations from around the world. 

The artworks have taken inspiration from Italian artist, architect and photographer Pei Pegata. His near-death accident left him lying in a coma. His friends and artistic collaborators reacted to his absence by combining Pei’s own self-portrait with something unique from each collaborator.

The project has grown to over a hundred images, as artists from all over the world have got involved. The exhibition in Swindon Hub is the first show bringing together a selection of these unique images. The show includes one created by Swindon street artist Keith Bull.

Exhibition organiser Josie Slade says that the show has helped bring people together, both in Swindon as well as connecting across borders. ‘Social media makes it so easy to connect. Artists from around the world have been getting in touch and sending us their images – and then shouting about the show in Swindon. It’s really put us on the map’ she said.

International Pop Art at Swindon Hub - exhibition organiser Josie Slade
International Pop Art at Swindon Hub – exhibition organiser Josie Slade

Other participating artists

Three other artists are also featured in the current show. Swindonian Ashley Hunt creates art to help him ‘be in the moment’ and connect with what’s going on around him. 

Warren Garland started his online art project during the lockdown. His drawings of trees in east London have accompanying text detailing his memories, the local history and observations he made whilst drawing.

And last but not least is Iqbal – a refugee and survivor of torture from Sri Lanka. Through art therapy and support from the charity Freedom from Torture, he rediscovered his love for painting. He now uses art as a way to heal from the trauma of tortue. The show features several of his pictures too.

All the artists share the belief that art benefits their mental health in many ways. ‘The act of drawing focuses the attention into the present. Further it gives the mind respite from worrying about the future or agonising over the past’ says Warren. ‘The project also gives me a purpose to go outdoors, explore and interact. Doing that can be difficult when I’m feeling depressed and isolated.’ he added.

The Swindon Hub

Based in the former River Island building, Swindon Hub offers a welcoming café, retail stands for local crafters and a community art’s space. It also serves for meetings and events.

The Hub is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm – everyone is welcome to drop in and say hi.

Run and staffed completely by volunteers, the project aims to bring life to the town centre. And, at the same time, to support communities and people from across Swindon and to raise awareness of issues around climate and sustainability.

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