An art exhibition at Irvine’s Townhouse last week has given an insight into young people’s experience of the care system.

The Express Yourself exhibition included work by 30 young people aged 14-25 who have been taking part in a partnership between Irvinebased arts charity Impact Arts and North Ayrshire’s ThroughCare services.

The exhibition included sculptures created from pieces of junk, dramatic black-and-white photography, and conceptual art created from fabric and knitting.

The group had also created their own clothing brand for the exhibition.

Titled #ThisIsUs, the aim of the exhibition was to challenge stereotypes about what makes a so-called “normal” upbringing.

As well as visual art, the young people performed powerful pieces of poetry about mental health, the challenges young people face, and strong role models in the family.

Those attending the exhibition also had the chance to try out some of the art techniques the young people had used.

Provost Ian Clarkson was in attendance, and got his hands dirty creating art as part of a workshop led by artist Laura Frood and the young people involved.

One participant, 21, said: “Our exhibition was such an amazing day, we’re so proud of ourselves for the work we created.”

Laura has been delivering art workshops with the young people since May last year.

She says she is immensely proud of what the young people have achieved.

She said:“I was over the moon with how well the work was received and how well the audience connected with the message that the young people where trying to convey. Seeing how proud the young people were to make present their work to their peers and council representatives was such a highlight.”

The aim of the Express Yourself project is to get young people interested in new art forms and show them how to express their thoughts and feelings through abstract art.

The project will continue for a further two years thanks to funding from the Life Changes Trust charity.

The charity, which turns 25 in 2019, will be running summer workshops for 12-19 year olds and kids art therapy.