L&Q Living artists steal show at trendy Hoxton exhibition

Published on 21/02/2020

Nine L&Q Living residents have had their art work exhibited in a London gallery.

Two of the artists featured had taken up painting again decades after they last touched a paintbrush.

Retired nurse Maureen Lam, 72, hadn’t painted since school and only started again when Eray Ismailov, 24, began leading art lessons at the sheltered scheme where she lives two years ago.

She is now one of nine residents featured in an exhibition at the art gallery and project space HOXTON 253.

The lessons were provided by L&Q Living, the care and support arm of housing association L&Q, which offers tailored support to over 500 residents with a range of needs.

Maureen, who lives in an L&Q Living scheme in Leytonstone, said: “I really enjoyed painting at school, but then life got in the way. I became a nurse and I didn’t have the time think about painting until I met Eray. He got me started again and now I can’t stop painting! It’s never too late to learn new things. I’ve started doing birthday cards and I’m thinking about selling them. But the best thing about my new hobby is that it keeps me out of mischief and occupies my free time.

“It gives me the chance to socialise with other residents in the building and to have my humble artwork appreciated. Eray has been very helpful and encouraging in my painting and is now a firm friend of ours.”

Her friend Stephanie Murphy, who declined to give her age, added: “I feel the classes have enhanced my self-confidence and boosted my well-being. Creating art takes you out of yourself. Eray is such a nice guy and so helpful. I hadn’t painted since around 1975, but the classes have got me started again. My home is full of art now because I just don’t want to stop.”

L&Q Living provided the lessons in order to keep their residents feeling engaged and fulfilled.

Eray Ismailov, who curated the exhibition, said: “I’ve been painting since I was a child and it’s something that I’ve always used to express myself, so I wanted to help other people to do the same.

“Taking these classes has been a revelation. These people have taught me so much and shared so much of themselves and their lives. I’m very happy to be able to spend time with them and call them my friends.

“There are stereotypes about how you can’t pick up new skills as you age, but I think that all of these should disappear because, as these artists have shown, no matter how old you are, you are still capable of amazing things. I am so proud of all of them.”

Charlie Culshaw, Director of L&Q Living, added: “I am extremely proud of the L&Q team for helping our talented artists to realise their full potential, and delighted that this exhibition has given them the recognition that they deserve.”

Funds to support the exhibition were provided by the L&Q Foundation.