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Addiction shown through art

A mother held a touching exhibition last month to depict the struggles of having a son who suffers with addiction.


Antonia Rolls displayed her artwork along with pieces from two of her friends, at Waltham House Gallery in Town Cross Avenue, Bognor Regis.


Each piece was created to show an aspect of her life and how her son, who she calls her “teacher in life forever”, and his addiction affected their family.


She said:


“It went really well it touched a lot of nerves.


“There were some people who found it a little upsetting. Not in the way that they didn’t like it, but that it brought up something in their own lives.


“It was hard to do, hard to show because it brought up a lot of memories.


“But it also caused a lot of conversation, a lot of discussion and I think it’s just the start.”


The exhibition brought in over 50 people, all from different walks of life with their own link to the matter.


“There were a lot of different people who came. We had ex-addicts who came and got it completely.


“One man arrived with his daughter. He was an ex-addict himself and the first thing he asked me, before anything else, was “How is your boy?”


“One lady who came along had a daughter who was an addict.


“She’d never spoken about it with anyone and she was really struggling.


“She spoke to a man who was at the exhibition, he was from Arun Exact. They help people with addiction.


“The lady was stunned that she didn’t have to do this on her own, she could talk to others about it.”


One of the things Antonia is passionate about doing in the future is educating herself about addiction and the help provided for addicts.


“Addiction is the smallest drop in the largest ocean. What I am really understanding is that there is nothing available for anybody.


She said:


“If you are in the gutter and want to give up there doesn’t seem to be anything for you unless you have money.


“I was lucky enough to be able to pay for my son to go to rehab. I re-mortgaged the house. I did what I had to do.


“I was in a position where I could do that but that is rare. Not many people can. That’s not right, it’s not fair.


“What do we do with the 95 per cent of the addicts who aren’t able to do that? It feels like there is no social or political support to properly help deal with this problem.


Antonia hopes to continue expanding her exhibition into next year. as her knowledge and understanding grows.


“I want the exhibition to grow, to get bigger and bigger and I grow myself and get more informed,” she said.


“I hope to paint the pictures of other addicts and the people who love them. I want to learn more stories.


“I’m astonished at the breadth of struggle around us. It’s everywhere and what do we do about it. What can we do about it? Next what I am going to do is another exhibition. The next exhibition will be in Brighton in 2020 and after I have educated myself.”

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