Throughout 2011 and 2012, teenagers with cancer, their friends, families and carers have been taking part in art workshops run by Royal Albert Hall Education.
Delivered by artist Gill Hickman at Teenage Cancer Trust units across the country, the workshops have provided a fun, relaxed and accepting forum for young people to explore their thoughts and feelings about cancer, using the human body’s Spectacular Cells as inspiration.
Teenagers in Birmingham, Leeds, London and Newcastle took part in the workshops. The young artists were encouraged to think about what makes them happy, focus on the positive aspects of the cells inside their bodies and create a multi-media textured painting inspired by their insights.
The workshops gave young people with cancer the chance to discover more about cells and how they work and to express complex attitudes and feelings in a nurturing environment. The young people gained new creative skills and insights into how to deal with illness in a positive, inspiring way.
These workshops were devised following the success of the music workshops, which have taken place annually during Teenage Cancer Trust concert week since 2004.
The 2012 exhibition coincided with the TCT concert series at the Royal Albert Hall and ran from Wednesday 28 March to Friday 13 April 2012
"This is a very valuable workshop for these young people who are facing such enormous challenges in their lives. I believe they all got something positive and theraputic from the experience. They were all the very excited by the idea of having their work shown at the Royal Albert Hall" – Gill Hickman
The art workshops for the Teenage Cancer Trust are led by artist Gill Hickman at TCT units in hospitals across the country.
Working with teenagers who are living with cancer themselves, Gill encourages them to use art to express their perceptions of body cells and their attitudes to illness.
Gill has been painting human cells since 2006 and is constantly fascinated by the discoveries she makes through her research.
Her paintings can be uplifting or calming, often using vibrant hues which resonate with the gold leaf and rich textures she applies so they become living dancing
organisms on the canvas.
Her latest paintings focus on the way that cells communicate with each other
Gill is Director of the artist-run Skylark Galleries on London’s South Bank. Her work is in many private and public collections internationally. Gill believes that her art has supported her in staying well for more than 20 years after being diagnosed as HIV positive.
Gill says: “I feel honoured to have the opportunity to work alongside these amazingly brave and creative young people who are facing such enormous challenges in their lives.”
You can see more of Gill’s work or contact
her at www.gillhickman.com