Mike Juggins with Joy

Dyslexic artist and campaigner Mike Juggins is back at the Birdwood House Gallery, Totnes

Mike Juggins with Joy

Dyslexic artist and campaigner Mike Juggins is exhibiting at the Birdwood House Gallery, Totnes again as a last-minute replacement following the success of his show earlier in the year.

Mike told ArtsCulture: “I received a phone call from Birdwood House Gallery saying they had a cancellation and have asked me to exhibit my work this week. So many people seemed to really get my work when I showed in early January.

“After receiving such a warm glow of appreciation from the people of Totnes – despite the the ice and snow – it was an easy decicision. So I jumped at the chance and feel blessed by a second opportunity at such a lovely and friendly gallery!”

This exhibition comes just at the right time for Mike as he faces the last leg of his dyslexia-related battle with the Department for Education. Mike has spent over 10 years raising greater understanding and appreicationn of dyslexia and belives that there are many abilities inherent in the mind set of dyslexic thinkers. And he has taken on the department to challenge them about their failure to provide information about dyslexia in an accessible format.

Mike, who is based in Ashburton, Devon, said: “I have taken the Department for Education to task because they continue to discriminate against dyslexics, who form 10 per cent of the population and an incredible 60 per cent of the prison population. Mike is hoping that sales form this exhibition will help fund the court hearing cost which is due to take place on Thursday, March 31 at Exeter County Court.

Mike is both a painter, community artist and filmmaker, but painting is his first love and he is inspired by the compositional strength inherent in cubism, such as Picasso, and the colour of the expressionists, such as Matisse. Mike’s work also has elements of abstract expressionism.

He refers to his work as Visual Jazz, which have references to still life objects set in surreal landscapes are a common theme but the paint itself provides the real narrative.

“Painting is my high place. I channel gesture, colour and emotion in a free state of mind, often taking cues from the music I listen to. I just love the visual, physical, emotional and intellectual rewards that painting gives me,” said Mike.

Mike recently received a grant from the Arts Council and had the opportunity to work with young people in Devon as part of the project. Isobel Sullivan was one of the young people who had the opportunity to work with him.

“Isobel’s work is inspirational. I love the way she plays with paint and her drawings are just wonderful,” he said.

• The exhibition runs from to Saturday, March 5 and will be open daily from 10am to 6pm. Mike will be painting live at the gallery on Friday, March 4 between 4-6pm and all day Saturday.

(image: Mike Juggins with Joy the painting he made to a live audience at Birdwood in January)


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