Exhibition of Artistic Works by Trinity Students of the National Institute for Intellectual Disability

Posted on: 19 December 2012

Forty-nine paintings and prints by  students of the National Institute for Intellectual Disability (NIID)   went on display this week in an exhibition at Trinity College. The students’ artwork forms part of the expressive arts programme of the Certificate in Contemporary Living (CCL) that focuses on academic learning, personal growth and skills development for students.  The exhibition titled the Margaret McLoughlin Art Event takes place annually and this year 17 students participated.

 The exhibiting artists included NIID students; Ian Brady, Jennifer Clarke and Helen Cooney, in their second year of the CCL course.

For Ian, art is a way of “exploring different styles of art-it relaxes me. I used splatter technique and I enjoy getting my hands dirty. These classes have helped me to do art in a different way. I like relaxing colours like blue and yellow.”  

NIID students Ian Brady, Jennifer Clarke and Helen Cooney. 

Art helps Helen engage with her emotions: “I picture an image in my head and draw what I feel. If I am annoyed or in bad form I use red, black and green. When I am in a good mood I use blue, yellow and pink. Art helps me to switch off and lose myself in what I am doing.”

Undertaking these classes has made Jennifer “more confident to go and look at other pictures in galleries. Art helps me calm down − I use dark green, blacks and blues if I am down with myself. Art classes make me happy as colours interest me.”

The National Institute for Intellectual Disability (NIID) has used the expressive arts as a way of working with people with intellectual disabilities and enabling them to use their creativity to fulfil their potential.

Through the Margaret McLoughlin Fund  the students have had opportunities to develop their creative intelligence and skills within the Margaret McLoughlin Art Project− part of the Creative Arts Appreciation & Performance module of the Certificate Course.  This year the focus has been on the visual arts and poetry and 17 students participated in the project – 9 taking the art module and 8 opting for poetry. 

By developing and exploring these media under the guidance of the staff and participating artists, students are gaining new skills and developing their creative talents.  The students also have opportunities for performance and exhibition, so that their work can receive public attention and recognition.