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Divis exhibition impresses Mayor

COLOURFUL: Lord Mayor Deirdre Hargey gives a helping hand to Damien Ginley and local artist Maria Duddy COLOURFUL: Lord Mayor Deirdre Hargey gives a helping hand to Damien Ginley and local artist Maria Duddy
By Caoimhe Quinn

THE LORD Mayor was invited for a sneak peak of an exiciting art showcase, produced by Jigsaw NI, set to launch at the end of the month for Féile 30.
The art group is held in the Divis Community Centre and members have spent months creating eyecatching umbrellas, which display an array of positive messages.
Art teacher Maria Duddy explained: “With this project we designed umbrellas as part of a Féile 30 project and it worked out lovely.
“The umbrellas all include messages, some for healthy eating, others for protecting the environment and even Irish proverbs. It’s all about focusing on positive thinking for the project and messages for people in the community.
“They will be appearing in the foyer of the Cultúrlann at the end of the month with each umbrella hanging from above at different angles.”
Lord Mayor, Deirdre Hargey, commented: “It is absolutely brilliant to be here this morning. I can tell by looking at the exhibit that everyone has worked really hard over the last couple of months to deliver a really beautiful exhibit for Féile 30. The idea of the celling umbrellas is a beautiful idea and something we have seen in European cities so it’s nice to bring the idea to West Belfast.
“Everyone seems to enjoy it and got a lot out of it finishing the project by launching their showcase. I wish I could spend my days doing it too.”
Jigsaw NI was set-up to provide activities for people with disabilities. Improving quality of life for those with disabilities is at the heart of the project, including social interaction with others.
Clare McQuiston, Manager of Jigsaw NI, welcomed the latest project, praising Maria Duddy for her dedication to the group.
“Maria has worked with us for a few years and she came up with the idea of a spring exhibition in the community to showcase the effort and hard work put in by everyone,” she said.
“The exhibition will launch on July 27 at the Cultúrlann and everyone is very excited to see their finished pieces.”
Activites such as this provided by Jigsaw NI helps prevent adults with disabilities becoming sedentary and socially excluded.
“Jigsaw has been going since 1999, almost 20 years, founded by the late Fred Williams who sustained a brain injury,” explained Clare. “It started with a lunch for those with brain injuries and then progressed into activities for a range of people. Our Belfast activity groups are comprised of adults with varying types of disabilities, unlike other organisations we cater for many types of disabilities together.
“Our activities include Community Art and Physical Activity classes, including chair-based activity, exercise in the water, Boccia and wwimming. We currently have 11 groups running throughout Belfast on a term-time basis – September through to June and we also run a summer scheme,” she added.

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