The Art of Recovery

The Art of Recovery

The Drive Project team stand with the sculptures at the Bethlem Museum of the Mind exhibition.

What is The Art of Recovery?

Launched in 2016 to complement the theatre offering of Bravo 22 Company, The Art of Recovery gives members the chance to participate in art projects. The Art of Recovery aims to give Service people and veterans new skills and experiences to support an individual’s recovery and the transition into civilian life.

Sculptor Al Johnson runs 4-week workshops across the U.K. during which time the participants explore body language and symbolism in order to create life size wire and mesh sculptures to represent their experiences and feelings.

The sculptures are incredibly powerful; they suggest pain, regret and fear for the future, but also aspiration and a determination to move on. Each of the sculptures is unique to their creator and tells a different story of recovery, whether that’s a painful memory, worries and concerns about civilian life, or injuries that can’t be physically seen.

Who does it benefit?

Bravo 22 Company art projects are open to all members of the Armed Forces Community, including serving personnel, veterans and their family members. These projects are designed to improve self-esteem, confidence and motivation, as well as help individuals along their paths to recovery.

What has it achieved?

The sculptures are of excellent quality and convey such strong messages that they have all gone on to be exhibited in a public space.

The pieces enable viewers to witness continuing pain and trauma but also the determination of each member of the group to forge a path to recovery. This has led to a greater understanding of the challenges facing the Armed Forces community and we hope to continue to engage local communities in the projects.

The first art project was run in Brighton in partnership with The Phoenix gallery, followed by a Manchester project in 2017, working in partnership with Bridge 5 Mill and The Lowry Hotel. All the sculptures from both Brighton and Manchester programmes have just been on display at the Bethlem Museum of the Mind.

“I can express what I’m feeling without having to tell anyone. People can look at my artwork and know what’s going on. This has been the most positive thing I’ve ever done.”
The Art of Recovery participant

A Bravo 22 Company member’s life size sculpture depicting his battle with his emotions

‘Broken’ by Al Johnson