Aspex announces new artist-in-residence as Barbara Bessant

We are thrilled to announce our new artist-in-residence as Barbara Bessant.

Barbara is an original member of our 'Generate' group, a specialist workshop for people with dementia.

Barbara was born in Peterborough in 1931, and worked in customer-service and administration roles prior to retirement. She subsequently joined the group upon its creation in July 2015.

Over the last year she has developed her own unique artistic style. She has trialled several mediums, guided by workshop leaders Laura Fazackerley & Roy Eneas, eventually specialising in abstract oil painting.

Barbara will reside in our new Artist's Studio throughout August and September, coinciding with a 'Generate' group exhibition taking place in the gallery's Learning Space from mid-August.

Supported by the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, ‘Generate’ has gained increasing popularity, with a second group set to start on Thursday afternoons from 18 August.

"They started me off drawing shells, before moving me onto painting landscapes. I couldn’t believe it. I was actually painting.”

- Barbara Bessant

Participation & Learning Manager, Vicky Chapter said: “We are delighted that through the Evolve project we have been able to offer Barbara a residency in our new Artist’s Studio.

The progression that Barbara has made in our ‘Generate’ sessions over the past year is truly astounding and we are excited to work with her over the next couple of months to further develop her practice.”

This residency forms part of the Evolve consortium, a collaboration between the Aspex, New Theatre Royal and Portsmouth Cultural Trust, funded by The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.