The Things that Matter in Life

The Things that Matter in Life

An exhibition of artworks by the elders from Katherine Low Settlement’s Age Well Programme (19-29 May) 

Katherine Low Settlement (KLS) is proud to announce its first Age Well exhibition, The Things That Matter In Life, created for, by and with older artists from the local community in Battersea. Supported by the Royal College of Art’s Community Engagement Programme, the exhibition will open to the public from 19–29 May 2022 (10am–5pm, Monday–Friday) at the RCA’s Dyson Gallery in Battersea. With an opening event on the evening of 19th May, 5.00-7.30pm. 

The Things That Matter In Life showcases work created by participants from KLS’s Age Well Programme throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, curated by Adalberto Lonardi (artist, KLS Elders Worker and graduate from the Royal College of Art) with the involvement of Kerry Hagger (KLS, Age Well Worker, Arts Graduate). The exhibition takes place during this year’s Age of Creativity Festival, an annual event that supports older people across England to have more accessible, age-friendly opportunities to get creative. 

The Arts for Health and Wellbeing Report (2017), published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing, states that 82% of people enjoy greater wellbeing after engagement with the arts. Katherine Low Settlement also believes that participatory arts activities in social care environments helps to increase resilience and wellbeing as well as alleviating anxiety, depression and stress. Since the pandemic began in 2020, the charity has supported a group of 20 elders with more than 70 in-person and digital art sessions. The participants said that attending the group activities improved their mental wellbeing, helped them discover a new hobby, gain confidence and share their creativity with new friends.

The works displayed in this exhibition portray autobiographical pieces of the lives of KLS members, from real-life objects, pets and interiors to imaginative places drawn from memory or inspired by existing natural and urban landscapes. 

One part of the exhibition will be dedicated to sharing the group work developed during KLS’s Collective Art Club and Drawing for Wellbeing on Zoom. Another section will showcase a selection of artworks by one of the charity’s most prolific new artists, John Whaley. Whaley has produced over 100 artworks since 2020, having never painted or drawn before. In 2020 as the pandemic began, KLS provided art kits for the elders to try out. John enthusiastically attended creative sessions which helped him express himself and improve his mental and physical wellbeing living with dementia. Finally, the exhibition will host a large-scale collaborative painting by Adaberto Lonardi, co-designed and co-created with the KLS elders.

Over the past two years, the KLS artists have challenged themselves through their participation and creative output, gaining self-confidence and independence along the way. Many members had never drawn or painted before. Despite personal challenges, the participants’ work demonstrates how art is a powerful tool for wellbeing and connection among people. Lonardi says “Art helps our older members to access parts of themselves that are often unavailable or hidden. The arts allow them to dream and express things that they couldn’t say with words.”

Aaron Barbour, Director of KLS

“It is wonderful for our members to have the opportunity to share and exhibit their talents and memories in a prestigious institution such as the Royal College of Art. We are impressed by the level of creativity we discovered in our older members and the positive impact that art made on their wellbeing. A reminder that it is never too late to be an artist.”

Hannah Lambert, Community Engagement Manager, Royal College of Art said: 

“The pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges for our local and creative communities and now, more than ever, it is important to celebrate moments of hope, community spirit and resilience. We are absolutely delighted to be hosting this inspiring exhibition and welcoming Katherine Low Settlement’s artists into the College.”


For further information please contact Katherine Low Settlement on [email protected] / 07983993860 


Notes to Editors

About Katherine Low Settlement

Katherine Low Settlement is a much-loved, busy charity that has been at the heart of the community in Battersea, South West London, since 1924.

With a few staff and a lot of volunteers, we run a range of our own community services, we campaign for social change and we incubate and support other charities and social businesses to thrive.

Our building is used for community activities and events by over 500 people a week. We support children, young people and their families, older people, women and refugees and newly-arrived communities.

About the RCA

The Royal College of Art is the world’s leading university of art and design. A small, specialist and research-intensive postgraduate university based in London, the RCA provides over 2,000 students with unrivalled opportunities to deliver art and design projects that transform the world.

Offering MA, MPhil, MRes and PhD programmes across the disciplines of architecture, arts & humanities, design and communications, the RCA’s approach is founded on the premise that art, design, creative thinking, science, engineering and technology must all collaborate to solve today’s global challenges.

The College employs around 1,000 professionals from all over the world to teach and develop students in 30 academic programmes; exposing them to new knowledge in a way that encourages experimentation.

InnovationRCA, the university’s centre for enterprise, entrepreneurship, incubation and business support, has helped over 70 RCA business ideas become a reality that has led to the creation of over 750 UK jobs.

The RCA was named the world’s leading university of art and design in the QS World Rankings 2021 for the seventh consecutive year. 

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