Our 100 Portraits

Artists: Judith Abubakar, Richard Anderson, John Cocozza, Andrew Crosbie, Michael Earll, Edward Henry, Doreen Kay, Stuart Low, Nils McDiarmid, Jonathan McKinstry, John McNaught, Cameron Morgan, Paul Rankine, Steven Reilly

left: Michael Draper “Tim Burgess”; middle: Stuart Low; right: Doreen Kay “Portrait with Sister”

Our 100 Portraits is a celebration of the learning disability community

Working with socially distanced sketches, zoom sittings and photographs of far-flung loved ones, our artists have captured a snapshot of Scotland’s learning disabled community during the pandemic. They use portraiture to tell the stories of the people who populate their worlds – be that family, friends, support workers or famous (sometimes fictional) idols.

We look forward to sharing this diverse, touching and joyful collection with visitors, showcasing Morgan’s playful humour; Kay’s colourful compositions; McNaught’s precise painting; McKinstry’s expressive vibrancy; and Rankine’s delicate touch – alongside pieces by guest artists from within and outwith our studios.

Our 100 Portraits is funded by The National Heritage Lottery Fund.


Visiting Information

Visiting hours: 11am-5pm Wednesday – Saturday | 11 September – 9 October | Trongate 103

Access: Our gallery space at Trongate 103 is wheelchair accessible. There is an accessible toilet.


Exhibition text by Michael McEwen

I’ve been lucky enough to work with different disability organisations over the years who do some brilliant work.

Project Ability worked with me some years ago to make a film about my disability, to raise awareness.

I’ve recently returned there to work on a project called Our 100 Portraits, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Project Ability collaborated with the Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities, also the artists worked with geographer Cheryl McGeacham of Glasgow University.

The project aim, set up before lockdown, is to share stories and images of people with a disability through the power of portraiture.

The project moved online, like many events during the pandemic, and this made it more difficult for the artists to fully capture their subjects.

The artists, working at home rather than in a familiar studio, explored what captures a snapshot of personality, of emotions during the isolation of lockdown.

As the artists were creating portraits, I interviewed those sitting at the same time: six people in total.

Valerie O’Regan, Project Ability tutor said:

“The Our 100 Portraits project started off tentatively during the first few months of lockdown, with us all navigating new ways to engage and communicate. The result is an emotive, quirky, and wonderful collection of our present time, and of the people that we cherish, admire and love, the people that have shared this year with us, some from afar, others through live zoom sketches, photographs, and memories.

In more recent history, portraiture comes in unlimited forms, and it is no longer a marker of status, but a way of exploring another person’s life and their unique story and how they matter and make a difference”

Cameron Morgan, visual artist, shared:

“I like doing portraits to capture the person’s character and their features. To capture a moment in time. It’s not easy drawing people on Zoom, I prefer seeing the person in the flesh. Doing it on Zoom the technology can be hard to grasp. It was good to see everyone and have a chat. I enjoyed doing my own interpretations of people”