Mosaic exhibition launches hospice gallery

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From left, John Freidman III, Sam Nasser, Jamie Johnson, Ken Edwards, Tessa Hunkin and Mary Helena at the launch on Monday.

Hackney Mosaic Project unveiled the art work at St Joseph’s Hospice to coincide with St Joseph’s Day, 19 March. The exhibition is being used to officially launch Joe’s Gallery, a corner of the hospice dedicated to local people’s artwork.

Ken Edwards is a recovering alcoholic and has been sober since he joined Hackney Mosaic Project in 2011 – he is now the group’s secretary.

“I couldn’t draw a straight line when I first went to the support group, but I find it very therapeutic and we have a laugh. It’s a welcoming atmosphere and we’re like a family there.”

A Princess Diana mosaic is one of many pieces of art on display.

Sam Nasser, head of marketing, communications and business development at St Joseph’s, said: “The mosaics are beautiful and it’s wonderful to have them launching Joe’s Gallery. This will be a space where we will have local artists being able to sell and we’ll put up some of the patients’ work as well.

“We’re trying to do more clubs and groups where people get actively involved in doing things. It’s a good way for patients to make new friends and gives them a shared interest that isn’t their illness. The art is a good distraction.”

“I couldn’t draw a straight line when I first went to the support group”

The mosaics on display at the hospice, which provides care and support for more than 2,000 terminally ill Londoners each year, were created by members of the Hackney Mosaic Project, a support group for people suffering from issues ranging from disability and mental health problems to addictions and Alzheimer’s.

Yesterday’s launch heard short speeches from Nasser and Tessa Hunkin, the founder of the project, as well as poems written and read by the artists.

Perhaps a mosaic of the iconic Freddie Mercury will interest you?

Ms Hunkin said: “My background is in mosaics, but I’d always found that making things was therapeutic for me.

“I thought the project would be a way of bringing people together to focus on something that wasn’t their problems, so they could forget about their problems for a bit.”

“I think St Joseph’s has a vision of community that is a bit like mine so it’s a very good fit.”

“There are so many things that everybody shares in life and death, and it’s a place that concentrates on what we have in common rather than what keeps us apart.”

The exhibition in Joe’s Gallery is open to the public until May or until all the work is sold.

A mosaic of a cow is on display at Joe’s Gallery