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Exhibition showcases artist’s journey through therapy

Katherine Gilmartin in her studio in Norwich. She has put on an exhibition of a series of art works charting her journey through mental health therapy. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Katherine Gilmartin in her studio in Norwich. She has put on an exhibition of a series of art works charting her journey through mental health therapy. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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A Norfolk artist who received “amazing” support from Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) to help overcome challenges in her family is set to stage a second art exhibition exploring the relationship between parenting and mental health.

Katherine Gilmartin, from Norwich, is holding the Finding a Voice 2018 exhibition at the Anteros Gallery in Fye Bridge Street, Norwich from October 16 to 26.

She will begin by hosting workshops for health, social care and education staff to explore domestic abuse and what it is like to be involved in services, before the exhibition officially opens on Thursday evening.

It will feature drawings, water colours and illustrations from Katherine, as well as works by NSFT art psychotherapist Jan Goldsworthy and fellow artists Elizabeth Cowell and Sophia Seven.

Katherine hopes it will appeal to mothers in particular, giving them the opportunity to challenge themselves while also identifying with and enjoying the artwork.

The exhibition comes following the success of Finding a Voice 2017, which took place last year and showcased work which celebrated the completion of therapy and no further involvement from services.

“I was delighted with the feedback we received following last year’s exhibition,” said 33-year-old Katherine, who received around 18 months of support from NSFT to help manage challenging behaviour from her son Finley, now 12.

“People really connected with the works and could identify with them, which was really powerful.

“This year’s exhibition shows how I as an individual and my work have moved on. It is a celebration of struggle – although I know I am not alone, I can still find myself feeling that way, and the work reflects those feelings.

“I hope that people will feel a connection with the work and perhaps some relief in seeing that other people are facing the same circumstances and challenges. That really goes a long way to cut through isolation and loneliness.”

The Compass Outreach Service is run by NSFT in partnership with Norfolk County Council and the Benjamin Foundation. It works with families with looked after children or who are on the edge of care and helps stabilise families and return children from out of county placements back to their homes.

“We are definitely a success story for Compass. I cannot fault them – they were amazing,” added Katherine.

“Finley is now going to a Compass School and they are brilliant. Its been so good for them and the communication I get from them is phenomenal. He is working hard and doing well and is becoming a very kind and interesting young man.”

The exhibition is open from 9am to 5pm each day. Entry is free.

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