Meeting Samo from Playdead Studio for the first time was when the business decided to advertise with us and this was the first step in understanding someone going through a transgender transition. I had never met anyone before that had been through this or was going through it at any point in my life. What I see away from someone who has been in a lot of pain and gone through a lot to get to these steps, is a person who has learned a lot about themselves, who they want to be, what they want to achieve and I see someone so positive. So determined, funny but compassionate too. Someone who you can see very clearly has a big heart and loves not only being part of a community but helping to create one!

Samo is genuine, has such vibrancy that I see how easy it is to want to work with this cool individual. Why so many artists have dedicated their time to help create a collaboration of artwork for the most heartwarming fundraiser to help raise money for Samo’s surgery, that is so needed. It won’t just be about Samo though, this exhibition is also about trans awareness and celebrating the LGBTQ community, about understanding how people can feel accepted to be who they are. One thing that Samo said that really struck me was using the words ‘Play Dead family’ and that’s what Samo thinks of all the 30 local and international artists handing over work for Saturday the 26th May. These artists are friends, they have shown true emotional support and regardless of what money is raised over these next 5 weeks, what matters most to Samo is that everyone has come together and created a great show.

Need Street will be there offering the amazing food they always serve up and I am sure lots of the artists who have given art for this show will be there. If you haven’t been to an opening night of an exhibition at Playdead then I can fully recommend it. Such a buzzing atmosphere and everyone enjoying the show where lots of people end up outside, gathering together to talk about art and check out the outside wall on display. Speaking about the show, Samo said there will be lots of different pieces available and some affordable treasures. My Dog Sighs has announced he will give away an original Everyman canvas 60cm x 60cm, for the price of a raffle ticket. You can do this by clicking on My Dog Sighs Instagram page and clicking through to the Go Fund Me page set up. For every pound you donate, you will receive a raffle ticket. You need to screen grab the Go Fund Me page and send to My Dog Sighs who will then allocate your tickets. The raffle will be drawn on Monday the 28th May so good luck everyone!

The one thing I have my eye on is the stained glass hearts designed by @ezmeraldaglass they are going to be £15  I hope to get my hands on one as they are just gorgeous and actually for me represents Samo, a huge heart, but then I haven’t seen the other artists work yet eek! I am so giddy I just can’t wait to see what everyone has drawn, painted, designed and their interpretation of a brief set out that said ‘Celebration of LGBTQ’.

If you don’t get chance to pop down on Saturday evening which is 7pm until 9pm then don’t worry as the show will be there for a whole 5 weeks and so you will have time to wander in and see not just the talent but the love gone into this show.

By Louise O’Brien