Walcott artist exhibits work in Spain

A north Norfolk artist with learning difficulties has taken part in an exhibition in Spain.

Palma's old city's Interseccio art gallery hosted Raw Mallorca, which was organised by the Barrington Farm centre for adults with learning difficulties in Walcott in collaboration with gallery owner and curator Uta Gritsche.

The exhibition aimed to bring inspiring and challenging art to the attention of the Spanish public and included pieces by Michael Smith, a resident of Barrington Farm and a rising star in the art world.

Mr Smith, 40, travelled from Walcott to see his seven artworks displayed alongside eight other outsider artists from Norfolk and one from Spain.

Mr Smith, who has cerebral palsy and a learning difficulty, began painting in the early 1980s and is a rising star on the international art scene. His work has been included in many exhibitions including recently at Tate Modern as part of the gallery's 10th anniversary festival.

Barrington Farm curator Sarah Ballard said: 'It is not every day that artists from rural Norfolk have the opportunity to exhibit their work abroad. This has been such a great experience for Michael and especially important for his artistic development.'

The event was made possible in part thanks to the newly-formed Barrington Farm Trust, which has been set up to give adults with learning difficulties in north Norfolk the chance to take part in a wider variety of experiences through providing funding.

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The trust is in its infancy but is hoping to raise money to offer for grants from donations, legacies and from its own fundraising.

Ms Ballard said: 'We are very grateful to The Barrington Farm Trust and the Anthony Duffy family for their support. It is hugely significant for Michael and all the disabled people we work with to be given a platform to showcase their work and challenge any preconceptions about what they can achieve.'

The exhibition also showcased Beautiful Colour – a short film about Norfolk outsider artist Ian Partridge.

The film was projected on to a crumbling wall above the entrance to the gallery.

Ms Ballard said: 'The film was well received, especially by one German visitor who was really moved as her nephew has Downs Syndrome like Ian, and felt that the film gave her hope.'

Artists at Barrington Farm have been showcasing their work as part of Coast, a series of open studios which are being held as part of Cromer and Sheringham Arts Festival, which runs until Sunday .

The studio at Walcott will feature an exhibition of new paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints and will be open until October 29, 10am - 1pm and 2pm - 5pm. Admission is free.

Contact 01692 650707 or email roar_art@hotmail.com or go to www.roarart.com for more details.