ESSEX Summer of Art was officially launched at Purfleet’s High House Production Park.

Thurrock Art Trail hosted the event, which marked the start of a five-month celebration of the arts at locations across the county.

The Thurrock Arts organisation showcased its own art trail with a contemporary group exhibition at the production park this weekend. The wider Thurrock Art Trail will continue around the borough until Sunday, June 16.

Thurrock Art Trail event organisers, Lata Upadhyaya and Jonathan Curzon, said: “We were proud to host the launch of Essex Summer of Art in only our second year as an art trail, showcasing the artistic talents of Thurrock to a wider audience.”

Including painting, photography, ceramics, textile and sculpture, art trails this year will feature a wide variety of creative talent at both innovative and traditional venues.

Not only will towns across the county be showcasing home-grown artists, but this year will also see the introduction of a new trail in Harwich and an Essex Schools Art Trail, promoting the best of A-level students’ artwork.

Among those exhibiting is a photographer with images created after she was left unable to walk. Antonisia Schroder is exhibiting in Grays, despite being hospitalised since February, unable to walk or stand up.

Antonisia, who was one of the four founding artists at the centre of the Thurrock contribution to the Summer of Art last year, suffered a migraine four months ago which left her in constant pain and without the use of her legs.

Since then she has stayed in Basildon Hospital and the National Hospital for Neurology in London, but what has kept her hope alive is her love of photography.

She has put together a series of large pieces for her Expressions of the Soul show, at the Thameside Complex, in Orsett Road, running until June 16.

The pieces are taken from her book Zonia – More Than a Fairytale, which was published earlier this year. It tells the story of the mythical land of Zonia and the four Gods who rule over it, following a magical narrative with twists and turns through a journey with a message.

Antonisia is still in hospital and hoping to soon transfer to a special unit in East London. But, she says, she did not want her health to prevent her from being part of this year’s Essex Summer of Art.

She said: “I have had a difficult and painful few months and come up against many challenges, but my photography and love of art have kept me sane and strong.

“I hope the exhibition can give inspiration to viewers and lead more people to understand what art can achieve and give to you through times of challenge.”

The show is open from 10am until 7pm on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday or 10am to 5pm on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.