Redstart ArtsThe Redstart Arts collective of artists with learning disabilities has collaborated with local artists to create a series of Discovery Boxes inspired by the collections at the Horniman Museum and Gardens in London.  

The boxes contain pieces that have been meticulously created by each Redstart, plus some that have been gathered by the Redstarts to enhance and support the theme of each box. The pieces are individual and provide a fascinating perspective of the Horniman. 

In 2015, the Horniman Museum and Gardens invited Redstart Arts to take up a residency at the museum. As part of this they were allowed unique access to its collections. The Redstarts were encouraged to connect with whatever they liked within the collections and then use this as a source of inspiration and creativity.  

Cash Aspeek, who formed Redstart Arts in 2011 and lead the work, said: “It was great to have access to the Horniman – there is so much to see and to touch, particularly in the Hands on Base Gallery.  There is such a huge range and diversity of objects, which allowed the Redstarts to develop and build on their own interests. 

“My approach is to encourage the Redstarts to explore their own creativity rather than create a series of uniformed work. So each of the works produced reflects the personality of its maker. Byron was drawn to the Egyptian mummies and wolves; he loves their mysteriousness and has created a sarcophagus. Colleen took inspiration from the African masks and statues with braided hair and she has created a beautiful and detailed illustrated book. David was particularly interested by the winged creatures in the Natural History collection and has created his own winged creatures using different materials. The collections of skeletons/bones and the stringed instruments attracted Gerard and he has created his own stringed instrument in the shape of a jawbone. Jamie created his armoured Dinoriders, having seen the dinosaur models and the bronze armour on the soldiers. Udi was interested by the lion masks and model.  He has made a ‘roaring’ lion and a series of lion drawings depicting the king of the jungle and hierarchy of his pride. 

“The Redstarts were really inspired by what they saw and worked with and love the familiarity of the Horniman as a creative space. We are all really proud of what they have achieved.”

Discovery Boxes inspired by the Horniman Museum and Gardens’ collections will be presented as part of the Horniman’s ‘Big Wednesdays’ series. It will be open from 11 am – midday and 1.00- 3.00pm on Wednesday, July 27. It will be at the Hands on Base Gallery at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, 100 London Road, London, SE23 3PQ.