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Henry Fraser was 17-years-old when his life changed forever. After finishing his AS Levels in 2009, a celebratory holiday with friends in Portugal left him paralysed from the shoulders down, when a dive into the sea caused irreparable damage to his spinal cord.
Despite almost seven months in hospital, major operations, multiple illnesses and huge day-to-day challenges to overcome, Henry still states that “adversity has given him a gift”. The freak accident has led him to become a celebrated artist, author and motivational speaker, whose inspiring attitude has won over fans from Jonny Wilkinson to JK Rowling.
In 2015, Henry contracted an illness that left him bedbound for a few weeks. This is when he found a drawing app on his iPad, which he could use by holding a stylus in his mouth. From here, upon discovering this new skill, Henry began his career as an artist, teaching himself to draw and paint by attaching artist utensils to a mouth stick.
Three years later, he is about to host his second solo exhibition here at The Grove: Hand to Mouth. On 15 and 16 September 2018, over 40 pieces of his astounding work will be on display in our Ivory Suite. Visitors will also have the opportunity to enter a prize draw to win an A3 print of The Rhino, an A5 print – Return of the King and an afternoon tea for two at The Grove.
We caught up with Henry ahead of his exhibition to ask him a few questions:
Q: Which is your favourite art piece at the exhibition, and why?
A: This is a good question. My mind keeps changing on this point. I flitter around between a few different ones, but I guess The Chickens in parts is the best I’ve ever painted and The Beached Boat is the most detailed painting of mine. At the moment, those two are my favourite.
Q: When you look back over the time since your accident, which moment stands out for you and why?
A: I’ve been very lucky over the past nine years. I’ve been given so many amazing opportunities that I never even dreamed about. But I guess releasing a book sharing my story and the success it has had are probably the moments that really stand out. Never in my life did I think I’d write a book, which is why it stands out, it’s something so unlike me or anything I wanted to do in my life.
Q: We heard that you’re a self-confessed foodie, what is your ultimate dish?
A: This is a tough one. I guess as a savoury dish a roast dinner is always a winner. Nothing can beat that. And a chocolate fondant for dessert is heaven.
The Henry Fraser – Hand to Mouth Exhibition II at The Grove takes place on Saturday 15 September and Sunday 16 September 2018, from 10.30am – 6.30pm.
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