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CoolTan Arts Ragshow Edition

‘The Ragshow Edition’ is the third exhibition of CoolTan Arts Dickens News Series,which celebrates the life and work of Charles Dickens, with a contemporary creative twist and social comment to boot!

Where: Morley Gallery, 61 Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7HT.

When: The exhibition runs from the 1st – 13th Feb 2013

Private view on February 7th 6-8pm

How much: Free


The Ragshow is a unique exhibition by arts in mental health charity CoolTan Arts. Textile and batik pieces put a modern twist on Victorian dress and contemporise Dickens characters, from the jilted, dusty Miss Havisham to the glamorous defiance of Nancy.  Complimenting this is a collection of thought provoking prints, drawings, paintings and written work examining Dickens work and his relationship with poverty, mental health and Southwark. A special private view on the 7th February will be opened by our patron, artist Maggi Hambling – Open to all.

Dickens shares with CoolTan Arts’ artists the stigma of mental distress. The issues he explored in his work and his personal life with its experience of mental health and poverty are mirrored in many of our participants’ life experiences.

In 1824 Dickens’ father and family were imprisoned in the Marshalsea debtors’ prison. Left alone at twelve years old and supporting himself by working in a blacking factory, Dickens experienced his first episode of melancholia.

As an adult Dickens became well known as a campaigner against the inhumane treatment by restraint used on patients, still relevant in todays modern psychiatry. He also spent time observing patients in Victorian lunatic asylums, using his observations to form characters in his writing.

Dickens life exposed him to the daily suffering and mental distress of children and adults which he then describes in his stories.  His characters are often eccentric, and many are perceived to be experiencing mental disorders.

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