Gracefield Welcomes Jason and his Argonauts

Jason Wilsher-Mills is a disabled artist based in the East Midlands. His exciting, colourful exhibition is currently on show at Gracefield gallery 1 and visitor feedback has been brilliant:

“As someone who has been disabled since I was young it’s a really inspiring exhibition, I loved it, my son loved it!”
“What an inspiration Jason is, his work is so vibrant and funny, but with a very moving and emotional story behind it all”.

At the centre of this exhibition lies Jason’s large-scale inflatable ‘Changing Places Argonaut’. The surface of the sculpture is richly decorated with text and vibrant ‘tattoos’ which tell peoples’ stories from the Changing Places Movement – a campaign calling for fully accessible toilets equipped with height adjustable changing benches, tracking hoists and space for two carers to be installed in all large public venues throughout the UK. The motifs on this artwork also give personal reflections about the care that Jason’s mum gave him when he became disabled as a teenager. He worked with disabled communities from around the UK to design the work: exploring themes of disability, this exhibition tells the stories of these geographically diverse, learning-disabled groups, mixing them with Jason’s own biography to create new narratives and myths about the artist. Jason came to visit Gracefield to run an artwork for participants in Access Art’s Splatter and Chatter Art group on Tuesday 21, and gave a fascinating free talk to the public on the 22 February. The end of talk Q&A ran on for an extra half an hour as visitors enjoyed Jason’s inspiring story!

Linda Dorward, Chair of Communities Committee also made it along and said: “It was really great to visit the exhibition and meet with Jason to learn about the foundations for this work based on his personal experiences and work with other disabled communities. Jason is an inspiring individual and an amazing artist. Interactive storytelling is accessible and enjoyable and, I believe, a great way to learn about the lives of others, the vibrant and ‘in you face’ art-work is simultaneously fun and thought provoking. It’s fantastic to see Jason and his Argonauts in Gracefield.”

The exhibition is on a national tour to selected venues from 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe, and is an Arts Council England funded project.

Please email for more information and to arrange group or school visits at: [email protected]

Alongside Jason’s work in gallery 2 in the café gallery is a selection of watercolour paintings from the Gracefield permanent collection by local artist Archie Sutter Watt. Born in Dunfermline in 1915, Archie served in the second world war before resuming his studies at Edinburgh Art College. On graduation he trained as a teacher and came to Dumfries and Galloway where he spent the rest of his life and career as an exhibiting artist and teacher until his death aged 90 in 2005. He was well-known and loved by many for his teaching in schools and his adult summer and winter studio classes.

Councillor John Campbell adds “It’s always interesting to see work from our own collection: especially from an artist who has such an interesting history with our region, and it’s also great way to while away a spare afternoon in a warm and welcoming place in the dark winter days.”

Coming up next in Gallery 1 from the 11 March, Dumfries Camera Club will be presenting their members show, this year with a focus on portraiture.

Admission to Gracefield is free and the gallery is located at 28 Edinburgh Road, Dumfries. There’s plentiful free parking on site and we are just a short walk up the road from Dumfries Academy and the train station. Open Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm For more details see www.dgculture.co.uk


Latest Articles