Solent University

Removing barriers to creativity

The Small Faces exhibition at Solent University’s Showcase Gallery removed barriers to creativity and engaged diverse audiences.

The premise was to invite people to be part of a large collective artwork made up of thousands of individual ‘postcard portraits’. Notably, all submissions would not be ‘judged’, selected or rejected by a panel. All work would be shown, and all work would be valued. By relinquishing curatorial control, the gallery was solely reliant on participants to make the exhibition a success.

The response was overwhelming; over 7000 portraits were received. The exhibition was packed with personal stories:

A teenage girl with terminal cancer had the opportunity to debut her artwork in a public space; a 90-year-old created artwork for the first time in 40 years; and a group of refugees remembered those they had left behind.

Over 5,250 people visited the exhibition and for many, it was their first visit to a gallery.

Further reading