The artistic mother and son duo offering 'uplifting escape' from lockdown with gallery in Preston shopping centre

After both studying the same Fine Art course together at UCLan, a mother and son team have began displaying their artwork in St George's shopping centre.

Friday, 29th January 2021, 3:45 pm

They both know just what to do with a paintbrush after studying together at Preston's UCLan university and are continuing to use their talents to inspire others.

After 21-year-old Shailan Wynter, from Penwortham, had had his interview for the undergraduate Fine Art course, mum Shiryn decided she wanted to follow suit and said she knew it was "now or never".

She had used art to help children with behavioural difficulties express themselves and had experience running 'GetMessy', an after school and holiday art workshop in Preston.

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The mother and son duo studied Fine Art together at UCLan before opening the gallery

And she is also part of the Heritage Learning Team at Lancashire County Council, delivering history based workshops to schools, museums and galleries around Lancashire on a freelance basis.

As a mum-of-four, she made the decision to sign on to the same course as her son and gain the qualifications to continue expressing her passion for art, and is now in the second year of studying her master's degree.

Shiryn, 48, said: "I had been with my eldest son for his interview and was really interested and fascinated and just knew I wanted to do it. I told myself it was now or never and took the jump.

"Because of my experience teaching art to children, I was able to skip the foundation year and went straight into my first year. Myself and my son were still in the same building, walked in together every morning and left together at the end of every day. It was special to go through it together.

The gallery is situated on the ground floor of St George's shopping centre

"I had worked in schools and seen how amazing art was at getting those with behavioural difficulties engaged with their learning. Art is an amazing outlet for those who don't fit into the academic box."

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Shailan had been in discussions with shopping centres in Lancashire, including St George's and Blackburn's Mall about running an art exhibition using empty shop windows.

She wanted to engage new audiences with her work and provoke conversations - along with her son Shailan's work which focuses on the Black Lives Matter movement and prominent black culture.

His painting differs from that of mum Shiryn, as he recreates portraits of public figures such as Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr.

21-year-old Shailan Wynter creates portraits of prominent black figures in society

Now, the artistic family are sharing their artwork to an open space in St George's shopping centre, Friargate, in a bid to "offer an escape to the reality of everyday life".

Initial meetings meant the exhibition was set to be an immersive experience featuring projectors and using empty shop windows - but they are now using an empty store space to host their mini gallery, which opened on October 7.

And as well as selling her original art, Shiryn is stocking accessories including jewellery, mirrors, keyrings and tote bags.

Shiryn added: "I wanted to create an exhibition about public engagement and getting a non-art audience on board. It is a doorstep gallery for those people who wouldn't usually visit a gallery or a museum and opens them up to the experience.

Mum-of-four Shiryn with her artwork

"I chose to display the work in a shopping centre because everyone from all walks of life visits them, so it can reach different types of people. The shop is also aimed at anyone who loves uplifting art and would like something unique and original for their homes.

"My work offers an escape from everyday life, like a shot of euphoria. It is bright and uplifting work that sparks a conversation with art and how it can make people feel.

"I see people who might not have a conversation with anyone else all day walk into the gallery and talk to someone they have never met about a piece of art and always get emails from people telling me it has brightened their day."

The inspiring work from the Wynter family can be found in St George's shopping centre, on the ground floor beside Wilkinson's Cameras.

More information can be found on Shiryn's Facebook page here.

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