What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Friday, December 9, 2016 - 12:41

We all know that Christmas is traditionally the season of giving and goodwill. A time to think of others, to spend time with people you care about and to share. Headway East London agree with all of that. But they also stick by those principles all year round – and believe that’s what makes our community so special.

They’re a charity supporting people affected by brain injury. People who have lived into adulthood and then had their lives change in an instant; through an accident, fall, assault, stroke or illness. They provide support and services for these people and their family, and one of those is their day service – a community venue where brain injury survivors (members) come together to share experiences, skills and interests. It’s also home to an onsite art studio where members can explore their creativity through individual or collaborative works.

It’s called Submit to Love Studios. Why, you ask? The name was actually given to use by one of their members, Tony, and they felt it encapsulated everything the art studio (and Headway East London) stood for:

It means what I can say to people, to make them think. You’ve got to think about other people when you’re doing artwork. I don’t work just for myself, I work for everyone… Everyone’s got to love. When you love someone, you enjoy them and you like their work. It’s highly important, that is. Submit to love. Everyone can do that.

With these thoughts in mind, Headway East London have asked a few of their members what they love both about art and being part of Submit to Love Studios.

‘Art is a godsend’ – Errol

‘It has taught me to trust myself’ – Billy

‘The studio is peaceful, it’s creative, it’s all the things I want in order to have some kind of sanity. I am never short of anything to do and never short of good company. [The studio] has transformed my confidence completely. It’s something I hadn’t done before. For me, once I had been shown the way to do things it kind of opened up a sweet shop of ideas to explore anything I wanted to. In a strange way, it has taught me to trust myself, made me more introverted in an extroverted way. I think I’m a nicer person and I like myself more because I have been able to do things I would otherwise not have. I care more about other people around me. I give more time. It’s an equality thing, isn’t it? I would not have met these people had I not come here. It’s made me less self-obsessive. It’s comforting, it’s nurturing, and it’s beautifully chaotic. There are no closed doors here.’

‘I like being inventive and creative’ – Sam

‘It’s where I want to be’ – Paul

‘Without the art studio, I’d be negative – the negative things would just hit me. Working on the art is a way of keeping the negative out. The art room is a chill zone. It just makes me happy. I feel safe there. It’s my room and it’s where I want to be. Sometimes I don’t want to go home.’ – Anonymous

‘I find a sense of purpose and meaning’ – Brian

This shared love creates not only a special environment to be a part of; but it often inspires the creation of some truly incredible artwork. You can now join Headway East London in this process.’ – Anonymous

On Saturday 10 December, they are asking the public what love means to them, in an interactive crafts activity taking place on The Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall (11am – 2pm). The event is free and the public can drop in at any time.