Celebration of autistic Leeds artist’s lifetime of work

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FOR almost a quarter of a century, this unique collection of pottery stayed hidden in its talented creator’s garage.

But finally, the world is getting a chance to see the work of Lester Robert Wood.

Mr Wood, 49, who suffers from autism, is the guest artist in a week-long exhibition as part of Leeds Metropolitan University’s MA Art and Design Show.

The exhibition will open to the public at Broadcasting Place on Woodhouse Lane from tomorrow to September 12.

Marianne Springham, who is one of 13 Leeds Met students exhibiting their own work, is bringing Mr Wood’s ceramic work to the public as part of her show.

She first met him at an art class many years ago, but became inspired to help showcase Mr Wood’s work after seeing it lovingly stored at his family’s home in Roundhay.

She explained: “Robert’s work is part of my exhibition which is about the relationship between ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ artists.

“He has autism and his family have worked really hard to make sure he has access to creative classes and that he leads an independent life. His family have stored the work in the garage and greenhouse and the collection has been growing over 24 years.

“This is the first time it will all be together in one place and this show is a celebration of that and their dedication to keeping the work safe.”

The exhibition will showcase hundreds of Mr Wood’s pieces displayed in front of a backdrop of crocodile wallpaper, which Miss Springham has made from more than 1,000 scans of his crocodile drawings.

As well as curating and hosting Mr Wood’s work, she is exhibiting her own art, which includes a huge human heart inspired by artist Henry Darger’s collages.

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