Mr & Mrs Greep with Francis, Tracey & Darren.

Lenkiewicz published a document called Mental Handicap Survey Plymouth for this exhibition in which the parents of the ‘mentally handicapped’ children Lenkiewicz painted were asked to respond to a questionnaire about their feelings towards their children and how they thought society viewed them. Robert Greep and his wife, residents of Devonport, responded to the survey and spoke of their feelings for Francis and Tracey as being ‘… uncertainty as to what will happen in the future, especially when you know there is no future for them; also sorrow because they are treated like outcasts.’ 

In his contribution to the survey, Lenkiewicz’s life-long friend Hans de Rijke, a physiotherapist who worked with some of the families who participated in the Project, remarked that "a child-like mind does not question its reason for living, it makes no self-judgement". The Greep children meet the viewer’s gaze directly, unselfconsciously, but the parents, their eyes averted, are the ones who seem to bear the burden of being viewed as outcasts. In Lenkiewicz’s view part of the ‘tragedy’ was that "a handicapped child means a handicapped parent."


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