AN artist is showcasing his work to raise money for a domestic abuse charity.

The exhibition is being held on the top floor of the Dorchester library and will run until January, 11 2024.

Allen Freiesleben, 90, developed a passion for art after watching Disney and Warner Brothers’ animation during his childhood.

Dorset Echo:

He said: “I was particularly fascinated by the work of Picasso, Matisse, and the German Expressionists. This led to an admiration and easy acceptance of abstract and modern, non-figurative art. Cartoons, after all, are abstractions.”

Cllr Laura Beddow, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Culture and Communities, added: “We are pleased Allen Freisleben has chosen to share his work in our exhibition area at Dorchester Library and Learning Centre. This free exhibition is running until 12 January 2024, and we hope members of the public will come in to see the fantastic display.

Dorset Echo: Mr Freiesleben was born in London in 1933 and grew up there during the Second World War. Due to a strong anti-German prejudice during the war, the family consequently changed their name to ‘Frys.’

He began his National Service in Bicester in 1951 when he turned 18. After falling ill with tuberculosis and took time away to recover.

Despite trying many different jobs during the late 1950s and early 1960s, including a meter reader for the Electricity Board and working at Kew Gardens with a carpenter, he always wished to pursue art as his main profession.

He moved to Aylesbury with his family in 1966 where he continued meter-reading and started teacher training. After teaching at Elmhurst school for 25 years, he took an early retirement and went back to part-time meter-reading while he pursued art as his hobby again.  

Dorset Echo:

Half of the proceeds from purchases made until the end of January will go towards the Dorchester Women’s Refuge.

The charity was chosen due to a family member’s experience of domestic abuse and in fitting with Allen’s own supportive attitude towards women he knows.

One relative said: “Christmas can be a time of great stress, especially these days when the majority of the population can’t pay bills.

“This sort of stress often leads to arguments, family breakdown, domestic violence etc, so the refuge might need extra support at this time of year.”

Dorset Echo:

Ms Beddow, added: "As a Community Hub it is important to us that we are able to welcome all members of our community, and we are lucky to have some great exhibition areas that can be hired for community or private exhibitions.

"We hope everyone takes the opportunity to pop in and see Allen’s work over the next few weeks.”