Inspiring work of Cardiff care leavers goes on show

A new exhibition of artistic work by young people from Cardiff with experience of being in care will open next week in St David’s Centre.

Care Leavers in Focus features 36 photographs across six different themed sections – identity, belonging, being prepared, voice, aspirations and ongoing support – along with statements from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The exhibition is the result of collaboration between a number of different groups, including Safer Wales, the National Youth Advocacy Service, the Adolescent Resource Centre (ARC), Photovoice and Cardiff Children’s Services.

In addition to the photographs, the exhibition also includes masks made by young people featuring messages describing how they feel about themselves, and a mannequin that delivers a rap about harassment and its consequences surrounded by footsteps with empowering messages written by young people with experience of being in care.

Joanna Chittenden, a youth worker with Safer Wales, said: “We’ve been running a Champions of Wales gender equality programme, funded by the charity Plan UK, for the past 18 months that has been designed to emphasise greater equality and girls’ rights, looking at female role models and building self-esteem and confidence.

“This has involved a lot of creative work around the issue of street harassment with young girls on the edge of care who we are working with to support them in their families.

“Taking part in this exhibition has made the young people we’ve worked with realise they’re not alone, to realise how common harassment is and how other people feel. It’s been wonderful to see how their confidence has grown.”

A council spokesperson said: “There are many young people in Cardiff who have experience of being in care and our dedicated teams are committed to helping them all through a variety of ways.

“This exhibition shows that developing their artistic flair can have a great impact on their confidence and fits well into the council’s ongoing work to make Cardiff a UNICEF Child-Friendly City.”

The exhibition opens on Monday (March 21) at the Child-Friendly Cardiff pop-up unit in St David’s Centre (next to the Apple store) and continues until Friday.