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Portraits Get The Somerstown Community Talking About Art

Published: 22nd July 2015 11:39

 Karl Rudziak paintings at Somerstown Central Local artist Karl Rudziak has teamed up with Portsmouth City Council to share his iconic paintings with the whole community.

The paintings, entitled 'John Anthony Portsmouth Football Club Westwood' and 'The World Peace Activist' are on display at Somerstown Central Café until December, and make a striking addition to the building's remarkable design.

Karl said: "Painting is a self imposed discipline. My work is essentially about people. Painting people is a way of connecting to my environment in way I could never say or write down in words. It is about identity. I am interested in identity and the mechanisms we use to project values on to or judge people using common cultural visual markers like clothes, haircuts, jewellery, tattoos. How quickly we arrive at value statements and judgements about personality and background by the way someone looks."

Karl's portrait of John Westwood won the Portsmouth Art Competition and was displayed as part of the prestigious BP Portrait Award exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery between June and September 2009. John is one of the most recognisable football supporters in England and his portrait has provoked discussion amongst visitors to the Hub Café.

Café visitor, Gareth Benton, from Somerstown, said: "I think they are great; I love them and think the artist is really talented. It's good to see this space being brightened up. It's aspirational to the local community."

Somerstown housing office's customer relations officer, Ryan Harris, said: "I think they are fantastic, I thought they were photos."

Jo Bennett, Portsmouth City Council's leasehold and commercial services manager, said: "It's a real privilege to have the portraits here to share with the community. Visitors come to enjoy a coffee and a chat and the portraits seem to be getting people talking. We hope that this will be the first of many exhibitions on display at Somerstown Central."

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