North Norfolk artist’s chance to shine in disability awareness exhibition

Artist Vince Laws whose postcard will appear in a national exhibition. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Artist Vince Laws whose postcard will appear in a national exhibition. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Art created by a Norfolk poet will be highlighted alongside celebrities' work in a national exhibition exploring life and disability one year after the Paralympics.

The postcard created by Paralympian Hannah Cockroft.

The postcard created by Paralympian Hannah Cockroft. - Credit: Archant

Vince Laws, from Hall Road, Oulton, near Aylsham, who is HIV positive and has anxiety and depression, created his text-based Invisible Disabilities piece for the Postcards from the Edges exhibition put on by national disability charity United Response.

More than 500 postcards by artists and non-artists containing different interpretations of disability will be on show in London, Gateshead, Bristol and Liverpool but Mr Laws postcard will be one of 40 blown up in size to mark the charity's 40th anniversary.

Other postcards included in the exhibition were designed by Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson, Olympic gold medallist Sally Gunnell, Suede singer Brett Anderson, retired Paralympian swimmer Fran Williamson, Britain's leading disabled model Kelly Knox and Paralympian Hannah Cockroft.

Mr Laws, 52, was diagnosed HIV positive in 2004 and developed anxiety and depression two years later following a relationship breakdown and said art and poetry has been a lifeline. He said: 'I found my creativity to be an absolute saviour.

'Without it I don't think I would be here today. It engages me so I forget about my health problems and can lose myself in my work.

'The HIV diagnosis changed everything. It causes me problems with fatigue. I can suddenly feel empty like my batteries have been taken out.

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'The silver lining was I chose to be a poet and an artist and before that I was doing what other people wanted me to do.'

He put forward four designs for the Postcards from the Edges exhibition this year and did not think the successful piece, made of cut out spray-painted letters, was better than his other three.

Mr Laws, who campaigns for mental health issues, disability and gay rights, said: 'I was interested in the notion of invisible disabilities.

'If you look fit and healthy people assume you are fit and healthy. I thought it was good to highlight that. At best it is about challenging people's assumptions. Art is very powerful.'

He is part of the Norwich Dandies, an artistic collective in Norwich, and through that he creates art for charities to help people with mental health problems.

Mr Laws moved to Oulton five years ago and his art includes, film, collage, photography and painting.

He is holding a free exhibition in St Margaret's Church of Art on St Benedict's Street, Norwich, between 7.30-9.30pm all next week.

The Postcards from the Edges exhibitions will be at the Bankside Gallery on London's Southbank, between September 10-15; Sage in Gateshead between October 1-4; Grant Bradley Gallery in Bristol between October 10-25; and at Camp and Furnace in Liverpool between November 5-10.

To submit your own postcard design or for more information visit www.unitedresponse.org.uk/postcards-from-the-edges.

To find out more about Mr Laws work visit www.iamapoem.com, email vincelaws@gmail.com or call 01263 587728.

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