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Rachel Gadsden Art Shape & Art Bridge Emergents Presentation 14/05/2020

Please click on the link below to watch the presentation talk rachel gave for Art Bridge about her artwork and practise:

Art Shape & Rachel Gadsden

Art Shape Art Bridge Emergants artists and program

Rachel has put some notes and vidoe links together below relating to some of the thoughts that were discussed during the talk - this information was compiled especially for the Art Shape Art Bridge Emergants artists and program.
Please do watch the video below to see how Rachel goes about creating portraits.

Creating a portrait with Rachel Gadsden

Who are you?

Our lives have all taken on a new identity since the beginning of this year with the news that a catastrophic virus was beginning to spread across the Globe emerging from China.

Our daily existence has certainly taken on a whole new character since the Government imposed a “lockdown” across the country, in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Additionally, many vulnerable individuals were also asked to self-isolated completely for at least 12 weeks.

These unprecedented circumstances have certainly shifted our perceptions of our daily lives and our existence too.

For centuries creatives have responded to these epic narratives in numerous different ways, and it is often through art, literature and music created during these times, that we are able to gain a deeper insight into how such catastrophic events have affected individuals.

As an artist, I have created work for many years that reflects upon areas of conflict and trauma, with the hope of artistically engaging and creating with vulnerable individuals who are experiencing these events, so that their voices can, not only be heard, but for art to be created that captures the emotional consciousness of individuals and communities living with and under these enormous challenges.

I believe that this Covid-19 experience can empowers us with the opportunity to reach out and also within, to artistically reflect upon our personal circumstances and to consider how we are pondering this epic and unique moment in time. I therefore invite you to consider your standpoint and to find a way to record your daily experiences in a creative way. For some they will want to consider the Covid-19 subject, but for others they may wish to create metaphorical imagery that emotionally depicts the fractured nature of this moment. 

Monet created many of his spectacular Water Lily paintings, while the troops marched past the bottom of his garden to the Western Front during the First World war.

Wartime water lilies: how Monet created his garden at Giverny

By Ann Dumas Published 12 November 2015

Monet’s monumental canvases of his water garden painted in the last decade of his life – the Grandes Décorations (1914–26) – are the ultimate expression of the symbiosis between his garden and his art. They would seem to offer a retreat into a world of tranquil beauty, an aesthetic immersion in the garden that obsessed him for the last 30 or so years of his life. Yet, for Monet these works carried another layer of meaning, beyond the garden. They were his very personal response to the mass tragedy of the First World War. “Yesterday I resumed work,” he wrote on 1 December 1914.

“It’s the best way to avoid thinking of these sad times. All the same, I feel ashamed to think about my little researches into form and colour while so many people are suffering and dying for us.”

At the moment many contemporary artists are reflecting in a very direct narrative way to our current Global crisis, as we can so clearly witness in this Guardian article by Najda Sayej (25th March 2020).

So there are no rules or demands as to how we should be making art, and it is for each of you to explore how you can and want to respond creatively to our current predicament, and in a way that fits with your identity and current emotional state.

I am gathering images together on my website that reflect some of my thoughts which may be of interest to you. Due to my own medical situation I have been completely isolated since Ist March.

Below are a few suggestions of artists whose work may be of interest for you to explore:

Frida Kahlo

Anselm Kiefer

Anselm Kiefer has produced a diverse body of work comprising painting, sculpture and installation that has made him one of the most important European artists of the past four decades.

David Hockney

Georg Baselitz

I begin with an idea, but as I work, the picture takes over. Then there is the struggle between the idea I preconceived... and the picture that fights for its own life. 

Georg Baselitz

Marlene Dumas

Sonia Boyce

Rachel Gadsden

#True Passion - Fifa - Hyundai Commission for Women’s World Cup Museum, Paris:

‘Gadsden is creating an artwork with frantic speed, fighting her own real-life fight against the dying of the light. In the act of painting, she tells us, she is "living in the second".’
Luke Jennings, The Guardian 

Biog notes:
Rachel Gadsden
is a disabled and visually impaired artist and director. Expressionist in approach, she creates solo exhibitions, performances and collaborative social engagement art projects with disabled, vulnerable and mainstream individuals and communities nationally and internationally, through painting, performance, digital film and animation, with the object of developing cross-cultural dialogues considering universal notions of humanity.
At the core of her practice are concerns as to how humankind comes to terms with mortality: by unearthing the unseen, making the invisible visible. Part of that process is about being open about impairment, and working to empower others to find a voice with which to challenge stigma.  Ultimately Gadsden’s work is underpinned by themes of fragility and resilience, a shared and positive sense of survival in the face of chronic health conditions, and the politics and mythologies surrounding disability. A multi award recipient Gadsden's work has been exhibited and presented throughout UK & Europe and in Australia, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Brazil, Colombia, Hong Kong, Jordan, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and the USA. Her artworks are represented in private and major art collections including HM The Queen Royal Art Collection, UK Parliament, Mandela’s Walk to Freedom, SA, Fédération Internationale de Football Association, The National Paralympic Heritage Trust, and Hyundai. Gadsden has received major award commissions for 4 Paralympic Games, Beijing, London, Sochi and Brazil, and has undertaken 5 commissions for UK Parliament.
Gadsden is currently working on a British Academy Funded Commission, Narratives of Displacement in collaboration with Dr Yafa Shanneik and the University of Birmingham collaborating with Iraqi and Syrian Refugee Women who are sharing their challenging migration journeys, in Germany, UK and Jordan. In her solo work Gadsden is currently reflecting upon the physical & psychological issues of displacement, virus pandemics, immunology and the human instinct to remain ever hopeful.

Gadsden was awarded an Honorary Doctorate, London South Bank University, 2016.

Posted by Rachel Gadsden, 01:05pm 15/05/20


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