Debs Carter wants to help women share their stories with one another, as she has about her struggles with depression, connecting each other through her amazing organisation The Touch Network.

Debs Carter wants to help women share their stories with one another, as she has about her struggles with depression, connecting each other through her amazing organisation The Touch Network.

Debs Carter, 36, Southampton, UK describes herself a lover of people and her favourite thing to do is sit down with a cappuccino with her husband or friends and discuss the world, life and everything in between. Debs is also expecting her first child with her husband Phil and is a charity freelancer and the founder of The Touch Network.

Debs states she is not an artist but is very creative and uses her creativity to think up new projects and strategies for charities as well as her own creative writing, where she is a true storyteller with a focus for real life.

We invited Debs to our last event for this campaign “mental illness, health and recovery” so that she could engage with people at the event and get them to possibly sign up for sharing their stories via the Touch Network. It was a successful day for Debs as she acquired many sign ups and a few from the ASLI team itself.

So we decide to interview Debs and find out more about her and this important project:

Click link for full interview:

Debs Carter wants to help women share their stories with one another, as she has about her struggles with depression, connecting each other through her amazing organisation The Touch Network.

Film maker Sadie Kaye is working with China Intercultural Initiative to document fine artist Matthew Plummers tour of solo exhibitions around Hong Kong and Mainland China

Film maker Sadie Kaye is working with China Intercultural Initiative to document fine artist Matthew Plummer’s tour of solo exhibitions around Hong Kong and Mainland China

 

“My work is concerned with salvation, refuge, revelation, roving eyes, long pilgrim marches, violet stars, rapt lovers, the morning after the wreck, dense, clotted murky rhythms, that which is rare, raw, fluid, innovative and dynamic.”  (Matthew Plummer)

Matthew Plummer
Matthew Plummer

Our amazing Sadie Kaye who is ASLI’s International Creative Director and Co-founder has embarked on a NEW and exciting adventure. Sadie will be documenting the solo exhibitions of Matthew Plummer as part of the China Inter-cultural Initiative. Matthew Plummer is the lucky artist chosen for this experience and exposure and will be touring main land China and Hong Kong.

So who is Matthew Plummer?

Matthew Plummer is an exciting young contemporary Fine Artist of lyrical elegance and undisputed originality. A passionate and acute observer of natural landscapes, which, for many years, he has swam, climbed and explored the wilder expanses of – in rain, sun and snow, by darkness and by day, and in all seasons.

 

Plummer’s bold and distinctive paintings hold impressionist abstraction and figuration in a perfect tension to remarkable effect, given his youth (and thus, one might expect, relative inexperience). His striking, poetic style is both intriguingly original and steeped in tradition, the latter the outcome of his fascination and engagement with the Grand Masters, Turner in particular.

Plummer claims to feel intensely close to his painting forbearer’s. He joyfully interprets, wilfully misinterprets and celebrates them in the process of creating his own, unique artistic language.

His impressionist paintings bring a rare intensity and romanticism to his timeless medium, continually advancing the innovative use of oil paint and acrylics. With sweeping, complex textures, lush palettes and compressed gestures focusing on the dynamic interplay between Light and Dark, his exuberantly intense colours typify the frenzied freedom in which he works. Expressed with the effects of the brush, his paintings cultivate a visual language culture that embraces diversity and spontaneity.

 

Plummer was born to an artistic, cultured family in London in 1987. He is an alumnus of London’s Royal Drawing School and the prestigious, internationally renowned Chelsea College of Art, where he received exemplary training as a Fine Artist. He has since proved himself a prodigiously talented and prolific painter with a portfolio of more than 400 completed works, 120 of them oil paintings. He has exhibited extensively in London, Paris, Toulouse, in South America and Eastern Europe.

 

He has recently been selected by the China Inter-cultural Initiative for a tour of solo exhibitions in Hong Kong and Mainland China. The tour will be filmed and documented for broadcast by Radio Television Hong Kong presenter and film maker Sadie Kaye. Despite his young age, Plummer is exceptionally well travelled. He recently returned to London from a spontaneous painting trip to the Red Sea, where he began work on his latest inspired collection of waterscapes, The Blue Roads.

 

In 2016 he will form part of a select group of artists embarking on a month-long voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, sailing a 60 ft. yacht from the UK to Venezuela, in order to paint a poignant Mural of Hope on the walls of anarchic El Rodeo prison, which lurks on the outskirts of Venezuelan capital, Caracas. The latter project will also be filmed for international broadcast on the Discovery channel.

 

In the past few years, Plummer has donated several pieces to be auctioned in benefit of the charities he has generously devoted much of his time to supporting. He was Artist in Residence for UK arts charity, Art Saves Lives (renamed Art Saves Lives International in 2014), from early 2012 until 2015. Several famed international artists and public figures are known to be collectors and followers of Plummer’s distinctive artwork, for which he has received many kind endorsements.

(Press release for Matthew Plummer)

 

 

So what is China Intercultural Initiative (C.I.I.)?

China Intercultural Initiative (CII) was founded by an established collective of innovating artists, arts educationalists, exhibitors and Asian art enthusiasts dedicated to using their years of artistic training, exhibition and events experience, inter-cultural passion and beliefs to create bespoke six month, one year, or two years artist exchanges for experienced, professional artists and rising talent.

Together, CII, its partners and collaborators have defined ways in which inter-cultural experimentation can create alternative modes of practice and help artists to respond creatively to the changes they see in the world around them. The rich, interactive environment of CII provides artists with the opportunity to expand and enhance their aesthetic range through exposure to cross cultural performance practices and new approaches to artistic production.

We are unique in offering artists the freedom to travel, paint and create in stimulating artistic environments; a plethora of creative opportunities to experiment, hone, develop, and share your techniques in the inspirational talks and workshops you’ll hear and give; professional opportunities to expand your professional networks; opportunities to exhibit and sell your art work in solo art exhibitions and international art fairs; and a diverse range of quirky opportunities to immerse yourself in all aspects of Chinese cultural performance. Our Chinese Cultural programs are designed and delivered to bring you the most creatively adventurous, daring and rewarding experiences from your time with the Initiative.

CII provides artists with all air travel, art transportation, housing and living costs on a need basis in return for an agent’s commission. This commission is taken from the art you sell during exhibitions and art fairs we arrange on your behalf. The commission is donated to registered children’s charities in Hong Kong and China. You will be afforded the opportunity to meet these charities and understand their work. CII believe artists should value themselves as instruments of social change and social justice is of paramount importance to us.

(CII is a partner of ASLI)

So we at ASLI want to wish Sadie Kaye, CII and Matthew Plummer all the success possible for this exciting new project, we feel this is a great opportunity and initiative.

For more information on Matthew Plummer please visit these links:

Website

Flickr

Tumblr

Google+

For more information on China Intercultural Initiative (CII) follow this link:

Website 

And for more information on Sadie Kaye follow her links:

Website

Twitter

Art Quote ASLI

 

 

Congratulations to our Team Member Lisa Reeve on Getting a job with Solent Mind Portsmouth Support & Recovery Service

Congratulations to our Team Member

Lisa Reeve on Getting a job

with Solent Mind

Portsmouth Support & Recovery Service

Lisa Reeve

Lisa is now part of the Solent Mind Portsmouth Support & Recovery Service and will be facilitating sessions and programmes at the Solent Recovery College (SRC), Highbury College. As a Peer Support Worker.

As a Photographer, Visual Artist, SFX Make-up Artist, Animal Rights Activist, Mental Health Campaigner and our Artistic Projects and Campaign Director you may be thinking, what can’t Lisa do? Well in our humble opinion Lisa can do anything she sets her mind to and has the full support of ASLI.

Lisa will facilitate training sessions for people with mental health problems.

lisa reeveAs well as their family, carers and friends, together with workers from Solent NHS Adult Mental Health.

The programmes cover three themes

• Understanding recovery

• Developing knowledge and skills

• Moving forward

 

Lisa’s Main Responsibilities:

• Working alongside colleagues from Solent NHS AMH to deliver an agreed programme of recovery focussed learning

• To help student learners mange their own recovery and help them set learning goals

• To model personal responsibility, self-awareness, self-belief, self-advocacy and hopefulness

• Through the learning programme draw on the lived mental health experience and expertise of students as a way of increasing awareness of recovery

• To offer individual learners opportunities to discuss personal recovery goals, both short and long term

• To signpost learners to other services when appropriate to meet their recovery goals, including encouraging learners to use learning credits gained at SRC as a stepping stone to further study or vocational training.

• To support learners to identify and overcome fears about learning within a relationship of empathy and trust

• To create and maintain professional supportive relationships with all members of staff, with other professionals and agencies to enhance recovery.

• To provide peer support if and when needed on an ad hoc basis.

• To record all contacts with learners in the case notes and on appropriate electronic customer recoding systems like RIO system if required

• To support colleagues in promoting a recovery orientated environment by identifying recovery focused learning activities

• To ensure attendance at all Solent Mind essential training

• To participate in group or individual supervision, appraisal and performance development and identify own development needs, acting as an effective Recovery and team member

• Maintain a working knowledge of current trends in mental health, recovery and peer support

• To contribute to the ongoing development of the Portsmouth Recovery and Support service • Work within Solent Mind policies and procedures • All employees have a duty and responsibility for their own health and safety and the health of safety of colleagues, patients and the general public.

Lisa Reeve

We are so proud of Lisa and for her ability to use her own mental health issues to help others and for her strength in taking on this challenge. We also think this is a perfect time to announce this job success as it is still our ongoing mental health campaign at the moment!

Lisa Reeve

 

The skills which Lisa will also acquire further skills in this role which will better serve ASLI in our understanding of mental health services and support in the UK, to better assist our ASLI artists who suffer from mental illness and our team members. So please join us in celebrating this achievement that is so well deserved by Lisa and if you would like to get in contact with Lisa, to congratulate her personally or to find out more please follow these links:

Lisa’s Website 

Like Lisa’s Facebook Page

Follow Lisa on Twitter @LisaReeveArt

Follow Lisa on Instagram

Lisa Reeve

 

 

 

WANTED!! Bloggers to write for our blog – Recruiting Now! Interested in being a monthly guest blogger?

Would you be interested in being a monthly guest blogger?

With your very own blog as part of ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL?

 

ASLI QUOTE

 

We are looking for enthusiastic, creative and compassionate people to join our team as monthly guest bloggers/feature writers. We want you to be an author on our website with your own login, author name and in charge of your very own blog on the following subjects (listed below) with the artistic freedom to make it your own! If you think this opportunity is something you may be interested in, keep reading…

Remember when we say ART we mean all artistic expression, visual art, photography, creative writing, dance, theatre, film, poetry, music, crafts, anything under the umbrella of “the arts”.art quote ASLI

The blogger topics we are looking for are:
Reviewers and Critics of the following subjects:
A music reviewer
A visual art reviewer
A poetry reviewer
A film reviewer
A photography reviewer
A theatre reviewer
A dance reviewer
A literature reviewer
We would want you to review at least 4 artists in your chosen category each month, they would need to be representative, inclusive, in-keeping with our mission and inspiring. You will need to interview artists you are reviewing via email, phone, skype or in person.
Local Artist (Portsmouth/Southampton areas) reviewer 
This would be either for both areas or we could have two bloggers for the separate areas. We would want you to review local artists from all artistic disciplines, abilities and would need these artists to be interviewed and reviewed.
Women in art 
A blog about women in all artistic disciplines from all over the world, showing women using art and creativity to better women’s rights and the world we live in.
Men in art
A blog about men in all artistic disciplines from all over the world, showing men using art and creativity to better men’s rights and issues and the world we live in.
Save the world with art
This would be for the eco-warrior blogger, we want you to talk about the issues facing our planet, what can be done about it and artists of all disciplines who use their art to educate and engage others about this issue.
Animal Rights and Activism through art
This is for the animal lover, campaigner and activist. We want you to discuss how we can all (not just vegans and vegetarians) become cruelty free, more aware of animal rights and what animals face in the world today and find artists discussing this through their artistic expression.
Art Therapist Blog
We are looking for art therapists and creative therapists who can discuss the benefits of art for better mental and physical health, with exercises, tips and guidance as well as all the latest news in this area.
Art as Activism
We want a blog which simply finds all manner of artists who use their art as activism to better the world in any
way.
Political and Satirical Art: Comment on the world
We would like a blog written about current political issues around the world and the artists that use their artistic expression to inform, educate, engage and express this.
Comic strip artist
We would love a few comic strip artists to create a specific comic strip for ASLI
Artist Tips and techniques
We would love artists who would like to blog about their skills and techniques used to create art. In a kind of how to or workshop style, this can also be a vlog (video log) which can show a demonstration on a specific skill, such as photography, pottery, painting, drawing, journalling… If its creative we want to learn how to do it!
Art Journalling
We would like to types of art journalling blogs, one by an artist who would share their art journal and progress and secondly a “how to” art jornal blog, with tips and ideas on how to journal with art.
Your countries art scene
As we have a large international following from all over the world we would love people who are from countries other than Britain to blog and write articles about their own local art scene in their country. We would also like bloggers in other languages too, so we can share your blog with our English speaking followers and engage NEW followers from your country.
ASLI QUOTE
We would send you an authors invite to our website/blog and then we would pick a date you publish on each month and this would be your deadline, then you can upload it and publish it yourself on our blog.
You can then link your own stuff, such as website and social media links to our site.
This is obviously a great opportunity and great for the CV, especially if you are a budding blogger, journalist or just love writing and wish to make this into a career.
As a non-profit organisation this would be a non-paid voluntary position.
But with our large following, subscribers and supporters you would have a keen audience.

How to apply for this position:

  • Send us an original article or blog post you have written before and then a second article/blog post about the chosen subject you wish to be a guest blogger for.
  • Send us any links to your websites, published works and social media sites
  • Tell us why you wish to be involved with us and our mission (no more than 100 words)
  • Tell us a date within a 30 day month that you wish to have as your deadline and publishing date
  • Send us a relevant CV
  • Send everything to MD/Editor and chief Charlotte Farhan at artsaveslivesinternational@gmail.com
  • Set up a wordpress account and send us your username so we can invite you as an author if we choose you. (if you do not have a wordpress account this is OK, we can still consider you, but you will have to be published though one of us (ASLI team members) as you will not be able to have your own log in)

ASLI QUOTE

We look forward to receiving your applications and thank you for engaging in our mission and aim.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask?

Also please share this with anyone you feel would like to get involved.

Create Change and remember art saves lives! 

 

 

 

We love our Supporters! Show us your support #artsaveslivesinternational

Some of the team and our amazing supporters!

 

Do you support Art Saves Lives International‬ ?
Show your support by creating an image like this with our hash-tag

#‎ArtSavesLivesInternational

and we will add you to our gallery

Thank you

ASLI’s Mental Health Awareness Fair and Event – The low-down

 

ASLI’s Mental Health Awareness Fair and Event 

The low-down

 

ASLI Info graphic

On Saturday the 30th of May ASLI had a fabulous day of engaging with our local community and our event was a great success. The whole premiss of our day was to raise awareness about our campaign MENTAL ILLNESS, HEALTH AND RECOVERY, to showcase some local artists who use their art to deal with their own mental health struggles, to give back to the community by having a FREE table-top sale and swap shop and by inviting local crafters and artisans to sell their beautiful creations along side us in solidarity. Oh and how could we forget CAKE, there was lots of cake!

The ASLI team and our ASLI volunteers pulled together so that our guests as well as ourselves, enjoyed a day of positive engagement and community.

See our Gallery of all the event photos – Click Here!!

 

We would like to thank:

The Oasis Centre – Not only was the centre and amazing venue, the staff were so accommodating and supportive. They gave us the entire venue for free, we asked if we could donate to their chosen charity and they chose a local animal sanctuary.

The Exhibiting Artists – Louise Tomkinson, Michelle Morgan, Chris WebbPhilippa Newman , Andreea Stan, Lisa Reeve and Charlotte Farhan

Our Stall Holders – Lisa TaylorJames WaterfieldPaul Brian, Philippa Newman, Debra Carter and Emily Murphy

We will be featuring all these amazing people and their talents in separate blog posts so keep an eye out!

PhototasticCollage-2015-05-29-12-14-07

We made lots of amazing connections with our local community, including mental health charities and art projects and communities! We will be building on these connection in the coming month, more details to follow…

Plus we had lots of local artists sign up to get involved as well as local residents signing up to our blog and newsletter.

All in all a very happy event! And to top it off we raised just under £200 for ASLI to continue to do what it does best, using art as a tool to create change and save lives.

Be sure to check out:

  • our Gallery of event photos taken by our two ASLI photographers Lisa Reeve,  Charlotte Farhan and Iain Turrell
  • our gallery of our exhibition on mental health and artists in Portsmouth at the event
  • our shout outs to our craft and art stall holders

Thank you xxx

ASLI INFO GRAPHIC By Charlotte Farhan

 

 

 

The Mental Illness, Health and Recovery ASLI Event in Pictures

The Mental Illness, Health and Recovery

ASLI Event and Fair

in Pictures

Gallery 1 Photography By Iain Turrell

 

 

Gallery 2 Photography By Lisa Reeve

 

 

Gallery 3 Photography By Charlotte Farhan

ASLI’s International Creative Director Sadie Kaye has exciting news about her documentary Bipolar Express

ASLI’s International Creative Director Sadie Kaye has exciting news about her documentary Bipolar Express:

Sadie Kaye
Sadie Kaye

 

Sadie’s documentary, The Bipolar Express, aired on Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK Radio 3) Sunday 24th May at 8.30, but for those who missed it, there’s still the opportunity to check it out on RTHK’s podcast.

You can also catch the doc and Sadie’s 123 Show interview with Noreen Mir on the RTHK website.

The Bipolar Express is a 30-minute roller coaster ride through the euphoric highs and debilitating lows of the bipolar mind. Produced and presented by Sadie Kaye (Radio 3’s “Miss Adventure”), the documentary gives an enlightening account of the perks and the pitfalls of living with bipolar disorder.

Featuring interviews with bipolar comics Ruben M Tuck and Josh Walters, and Hong Kong ballerina Kiki Wong, as well as Hong Kong’s leading expert on bipolar disorder, Dr. Barry Connell, this quirkily styled production was made with a serious mission in mind: to fight the stigma and stereotypes attached to mental illness in Hong Kong and to spread awareness of a condition most people know little or nothing about, and yet is believed to affect as many as one in fifteen of us.

For information on bipolar support groups in Hong Kong and a wealth of articles written by others who have the condition, visit:

Sadie’s blog – http://bipolarhk.com.

 

bipolar

 

Also the rest of the ASLI Team want to congratulate Sadie!

We are so proud of her and for her important work within the arts and through this creating change!

 on-air

It is among the station’s top 10 most popular broadcasts at an honourable Number 8!

Coincidentally, the 123 Show, on which Sadie was interviewed last week by ace presenter Noreen Mir, is Number 7. 

Listen To Bipolar Express – Pod-cast is ready, please click here

This fits in with our 3 month campaign “Mental Illness, Health and Recovery”

ASLI info-graphic by Charlotte Farhan

For more information on Bipolar Disorder please follow these links:

Mind:

http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/bipolar-disorder/#.VWdMQ8_BzGc

Bipolar UK:

http://www.bipolaruk.org.uk/

Sane:

http://www.sane.org.uk/uploads/bipolar.pdf

 

Bipolar-Disorder-words

 

 

Join our Facebook Group and Share your Creativity and Art with us!

Join our Facebook Group

and

Share your Creativity and Art with us!

cropped-phototastic-2014-12-17-15-22-001.jpg

Did you know we have a Facebook Group?

This is a group focused on the work we do at Art Saves Lives International. With news, updates, art, quotes and more…

ASLI info-graphic by Charlotte Farhan

We want visual artists, photographers, writers, poets, musicians, performers, dancers, creative organisations, art groups, community art projects, art therapists, craft and artisans. Basically if you are creative we want you to get involved with our mission and aim.

Here are some amazing art shares from our group members:

 

RULES FOR ARTISTS AND SHARES IN GROUP:

We also invite artists and projects to submit to us via here…

Please only submit one piece per day and never the same piece twice.

We are looking at art that conveys a message and communicates important issues. If you just have decorative art this is NOT the group for you. And your art will be removed.

Do not try and sell art here!!

Do not just promote yourself – this is about art engaging, educating and expressing our world. If your aim is to get more money and exposure this is not the group for you.

We welcome you to share other projects and organisations who are like minded

RESPECT one another’s work. Art is subjective – we DO NOT ACCEPT negative comments.

If you have any questions please tag the main admin into your post and question – Charlotte Farhan

We accept all forms of artistic expression like:

visual art, photography, creative writing, poetry, dance, film and documentary, performance art, music, installation art, fashion design, journalistic work, blogs, crafts and artisan work………..

Please share this group with like minded people.

Here is the link to the: group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/ArtSavesLivesInternationalNewsandArtShareGroup/

 

Artist Rocio De Alba “My one and only goal is as long as I can stand, breath, see and hold a camera I want to create photographs that people are drawn to”

Rocio De Alba
Rocio De Alba

 

Artist Rocio De Alba “My one and only goal is as long as I can stand, breath, see and hold a camera I want to create photographs that people are drawn to”

My name is Rocio De Alba (translation: dew of the dawn). I currently live and work in Queens, New York with my wonderful partner, Glen. We share four children between the two of us. It’s our own chaotic version of the Brady Bunch, lol. I was born in El Salvador. My family moved to the USA illegally in the early 80s escaping the civil unrest. Under the Regan administration, we were granted amnesty a few years later.  My father was a well-known artist in our country so I was surrounded by art a lot. But I didn’t realize I wanted to be an artist until my late twenties. I was working as an administrative assistant in Los Angeles and simply quit one day to pursue my BFA in photography. I completed my degree in 2007 after I moved to New York at the School of Visual arts.

What motivated you to deal with the subject of mental illness and the stereo type of mothers in your art?

I’ve always been intrigued by artist who document their lives. And I suppose this topic is apropos considering I am a mother of four with limited time. But I didn’t want to focus on a subject purely on the merits of accessibility. So even though I didn’t have a sophisticated concept or narrative, I documented my family and took self-portraits. It wasn’t until I studied Claude Cahun and Nan Goldin’s work that I realized I could use art as a way to overcome personal difficulties. In 2012 after a long battle with alcoholism, depression and suicidal thoughts, I was diagnosed with a severe case anxiety and panic disorders. Finding out you suffer from mental ailments feels like you’re walking around with your skin inside out. You feel fragile and exposed yet ironically ashamed. It was a dark period. One day while going through my archives, however, I began to dichotomize my self-portraits from narcissistic and vain portraits to cathartic rituals that subconsciously were saving my life. As an artist I could finally see the cohesive thread that lead me to create more intentional images with regards to context and theme; but as a patient, I found the photographic discipline itself cathardic and therapeutic. When I launched my site two years ago with these new images, several friends (and strangers) confided in me that they too shared the same struggles. It was then I knew I was on to something meaningful.

Tell us why you chose this submission?

Society tells us that we must be perfect at a glance and what people see on the outside should reflect the inside.  Yet I remember being on the subway or a bus with my make-up done, perfectly dressed, a big smile on my face, a diaper bag on one shoulder and two kids on the other hand; from the outside all appeared “normal” but inside I was screaming for help yet no one ever asked how I was feeling, not even friends. We’re also taught that talking about suicide and addiction is taboo, especially for women. This submission is my way of hopefully inspiring women to know that there is no shame is asking for help and there is no obstacle you currently face that is worth ending your life over. Seeking help to quit drugs or alcohol doesn’t make you week or brave; it merely signifies a desire for something different maybe even better? Although better isn’t promised either. But most importantly all the horrible shit you to your loved one that you think can’t be forgiven and there is no fresh start for you is wrong; it IS possible to change. We are all capable of change not matter your age the depths you’ve sunken down. I have learned however, that It may be too late to fix certain relationships but it’s never too late to forgive yourself and accept responsibility for your wrong doings and try to be as good a person as you can be today and right now.


 

 

“FACES OF LOVE”

In my early twenties my pious “old fashion” Hispanic parents divorced. Years later they confessed their most devoted accomplishment was “sparing us (as children) the unpleasantries associated with step-parents.” Yet almost immediately my mother began a successful relationship with a man nine years her junior, whom shared custody of two sons with his ex-wife, while my father courted many women simultaneously. Baffled, I witnessed my strict marital ethics unravel through the adults that enforced them and seamlessly integrated into what is commonly referred as a “modern family.” Suddenly my mother was a stepmother and we often met dad’s female companions with the imminent question: “will he marry her?” Using heaps of props, make-up, minimal post-production to alter my bone structure, eyes and skin color, I produce these satirical and humorous self-portraits to explore the “modern family” concept, focusing on the gamut of the contemporary mother archetype.  For the purpose of visual reference and to accurately reconstruct the physical attributes of these personas, I scrutinized hours of affiliated reality TV shows, primetime family programs and “telenovelas.”

The 21st century features great diversity in family structures. Research reveals fifty percent of marriages end in divorce, sixteen states legalized same sex and transgendered marriages, two million adopted children live in the United States alone, while interracial unions remain legal since 1967. These statistic endorse the evolution of the mother prototype, from that of the 1950s for instance, exemplified by fictitious characters like June Cleaver. Today mothers derive from biological roots, adoption, single parenthood, stepmothers, same sex unions, foster custodians or all the above. And due to new age media, feminist movements, and plastic surgery these women may look younger, live longer and remarry multiple times, as in mine case. Currently, I hold custody of my three children. The two eldest are from a broken engagement (he married a woman with two kids) and share the third child with my current husband, whom has full custody of a son from a previous relationship. As the evolution to a progressive family dynamic occurred, it seemed to revolutionize societal doctrines that enforced what mothers should look like and instead beckoned she reinvent herself unconventionally and without conceding to social biases.

“If I photograph [a] generalized human being, everybody will recognize it. The more specific you are the more general it [the subject] will be.”
-Diane Arbus

“GIRL ANACHRONISM”

Experts say by the time we reach age three hippocampus, a portion of the brain used to store memories, has adequately matured to handle our first palpable recollections. It so happens that is the age I learned about death. Inadvertently, this provoked the initial stages of a series of panic and anxiety attacks that would haunt me through adulthood. By age ten, I experienced more ruthless traumatic incidences that intensified the disorder and consumed me. I was unreasonably needy, continuously felt a pending doom, and was certain I was born in the wrong century.  At fourteen, a friend unveiled a magical potion that relieved all distress: alcohol! I self medicated for decades before finding sobriety, therapy, and a healthy lifestyle demanding I deal with the underlining cause of my psychological malady: my fear of dying.
In 2006 I began an extensive research study of Claude Cahun for an essay. Cahun was a 19th century surrealist photographer, writer, and feminist whom experimented with self-portraiture as a way to inwardly escape the oppressions of Nazi regime. Using Cahun’s concept of photography as escapism, I began this series of self-portraits to illustrate extravagant fragments of the mental and physical agony I endure at the peak of a severe and intolerable episode. Although doctors have diagnosed my prognosis as promising, I continue to incorporate abstract fantasy tableaux of neurosis and emotions of angst as they shed light on my disease and create a cathartic and therapeutic neurological relief stimulated by the photographic discipline itself.

“Photography saved my life. Every time I go through something scary…I survive by taking pictures.” –Nan Goldin


 

Why have you chosen the medium you use for your art?

I secretly think that (like my father) I’m a painter at heart, but lack the patience. My point is I could have painted my concept, made a collage, written a song or poem. I mean let’s be honest, I’m not reinventing the wheel here. Mental illness has been a theme in art for decades Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” quickly comes to mind. Photography is simply my art tool of choice. There’s a definite immediacy about photography, but none of my images are spontaneous. There’s an intense amount of meticulous calculations that has occurred before the shutter is pressed that, believe it or not, is still “awing” to me.

What is your process when creating?

I tend to sketch a new vision on paper or write the idea for it on my smart phone first. It may sit there for moths or I may execute it within a week or two, provided I bought or have the materials needed.

Who are you influenced by? What inspired you and your art?

Well I’ve already mentioned my father, Claude Cahun and Nan Goldin. Jessica Woodman is another influence, but not just because her images have a volume that screams in my ears, but also because of their beauty.  The rich vibrant color pallets of Cig Harvey’s work are also inspiring to me. Or the soft, warm, and mysterious spaces of Utah Barth. Lately I’ve been seriously obsessed with Cristina De Middle’s work, who happens to be a friend that motivates me and believes in my work. But mostly I’m inspired by my amazing network of talented female friends and colleagues who bust their assess in this highly competitive field yet won’t take “no” for an answer.

What does feminism mean to you and do you consider yourself to be a feminist?.

When you’re an immigrant, in any country I suppose, you don’t have to concern yourself with labels because others are doing it for you: government officials, bullies, employers and other women. SO I’m very caution is placing labels on myself. That being said however, I believe in the equal treatment and rights of all peoples. Especially those who cannot or don’t know how to defend or speak-up for themselves, or are denied that basic right. So under those beliefs, yes I would consider myself a feminist.

What made you want to get involved with our non-profit ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL mission?

I am extremely impressed with your dedication to give a voice to the muted and the forum to showcase issues that others hide from by using art as your weapon.

Do you feel women have to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously?

Do you have any experiences of this? Although we have made great achievements from the days of a young Gloria Steinem let’s say, there’s still a lot of work to be done. Personally I’ve either had to “dumb-down, dress-up, talk-down in order to not just be taken serious by men, but also (and this one hurts the most) to not seem a threat to other women.

Do you think that women and men are equal in today’s societies around the world? Have you any experience of this?
Around the world? My goodness no! All you have to do is turn on the BBC and within ten minutes you can personally witness the exponential inequality worldwide. It’s really terrifying what some women must make acceptable in order to simply stay alive. You get a sense of hopelessness followed by a strong sense of power to know that you live in a country where you can still speak out and try to make changes.

What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for etc…..?  

I  have a tremendous passion to help children that are in and out of foster care. My step-son, who believes is my biological son, was kept from his father (my husband, Glen) for many years due to his mother’s resentment over Glen and their volatile relationship. And even though Glen was fighting for custody, she was an active addict and my son was being tossed from one foster care to another, even though we were fighting to gain custody. I find they ethics of child protective services repulsive. One day I’d like to begin a photographic project about children in the system. I know exactly how I’ll go about it, I  just need the funds and the permission from the state, which is the hardest thing to clear.

What does the statement ART SAVES LIVES mean to you and has art in anyway “saved” your life in any way?

To me “Art Saves Lives” is simply a literal term that is exemplified in my life. Many times during a panic attack, state of deep depression or a moment of anxiety, I can simply pick up my camera begin photographing and it’s almost as if I am transported into a mental state of mind that soothing and authentic to my inner self. Art Saves Life is a lifestyle for me.

How can your art be used to create change and is this something you want for your art?

When I was an undergrad student I never thought of art as a way to make a change in the world. I was a narcissistic, self absorb twenty something kid with one goal in mind: to become a rich and famous artist. It’s funny to think back now because nothing could be further from the truth. To choose a career as an artist means you are willing to let go of all those fantasies and work from the heart to create work you are proud of and hope that it somehow connects to an audience and maybe even touches someone. Ideally I’d like to live off my art one day and I still believe this will happen for me but I more than anything, I want my art to speak to someone and touch them deeply. But I’ll admit I didn’t begin with this objective in mind, and sometimes I still don’t. But it is certainly something I’ve been told my art is doing. And to me that is motivational and inspiring.

What are your goals as with your art?

My one and only goal is as long as I can stand, breath, see and hold a camera I want to create photographs that people are drawn to for their aesthetics, but might return to see them one more time for its merit. I want to see my images exposed to a large audience and one day have gallery representation. I also see myself teaching photography as a therapeutic release in rehabs or foster care facilities

What is your next project or piece that you are working on?

Right now I am working intensely on editing a large series about my seven-year-old step-on and converting it into a multimedia book. I would like to complete the series “Faces of Love”, which you ( at Art Saves Lives) selected to showcase along with my series “Girl Anachronism.” I was also chosen to participate in the Annual New York Times FREE Portfolio Review (chosen from over 3500 entries!!) and am preparing a meticulous portfolio for this occasion. By the end of the year, I have plans to begin a new project regarding my father’s death from alcoholism two years ago. I have the images in my head but I need to finalize my four current projects before starting this one.

And is there anything you would like to add to your interview?

More than anything I want to thank you for selecting and believing in my work. It’s truly an honor to be one of your featured artists. I also want to thank my loving family for pushing me to not give up when times get tough and for their unconditional love.

If you would like to know more about ROCIO DE ALBA please follow the link:

Website

 

Art Saves Lives International’s Mental Health Awareness Fair and Event in Portsmouth UK

Art Saves Lives International’s

Mental Health Awareness Fair and Event

On the 30th of May at The Oasis Centre in Portsmouth open between 11am and 4pm 

PhototasticCollage-2015-05-13-11-18-24

Art Saves Lives International would like you all to come along for a fun and important day in aid of Mental Health Awareness for our campaign Mental Illness, Health and Recovery.

This will be an engaging event spread across 3 rooms at the wonderful Oasis the Venue in Portsmouth city centre.

First room: There will be a art exhibition by artists affected by mental illness

Second Room: A performance stage with live acts and with art and crafts stalls from local artists

Third room: A swap shop, Cake sale and refreshment stand

So plenty to do, see and engage with!

The event is raising money for the non-profit organisation Art Saves Lives International to aid in their projects, events, mentoring of artists, campaigns and to help continue the important mission of creating change through art in all its forms.

Admission is a donation of your choice (suggested donation £1)

Bring a bag of items for the swap shop to then fill your bag back up with fab “new” items

Gallery exhibition is Free and Performances are free

Money taken at art and crafts stalls goes to the artists

See our last campaign “celebration of women” please visit our ASLI Magazine

If you are a local artist in the Portsmouth/Southampton areas and want to get involved there is still some room for craft stall holders, performances and we are always looking for volunteers get in touch with us at artsaveslivesinternational@gmail.com

PhototasticCollage-2015-05-13-10-52-26
 Check out the amazing venue which has been given to us for the day for free! Please support them and give them a like on their Facebook Page 
logo
We will be announcing all the amazing artists and acts later this week!
So to keep up-to-date why not subscribe to our blog.
Thank you.

Artists Wanted for Portsmouth Event – Raising awareness for Mental Health

Artists Wanted for Portsmouth Event

Raising awareness for Mental Health

 

ASLI are holding an event on the 30th of May in Portsmouth, UK, at The Oasis Centre  

On Saturday – 11.00am – 4.00pm

Our Event is in aid of our campaign to raise awareness about Mental illness, health and recovery please follow this link to see more details.

We are looking for local artists, performers, musicians, comedians, dancers, art/craft stall owners and anyone who wishes to be involved with our organisation, campaign and event.

The event is going to be held over 3 rooms:

  • A swap shop and refreshments room
  • A gallery space for visual arts
  • An auditorium with stage for performances and stall holders

 

If you are interested please contact either:

Charlotte Farhan – artsaveslivesinternational@gmail.com

Lisa Reeve – lisareeveasli@gmail.com

 

 

 

Art, Mental Illness, Health and Recovery – Worldwide Call for Artists

HOW TO GET INVOLVED…

 

We are looking for artists and creatives from all disciplines from all over the world to be featured:

  • In our second issue of the ASLI Magazine
  • On our ASLI Blog
  • To be a guest blogger or feature writer
  • To get involved with our local event (UK Only)
  • To be featured in our on-line gallery
  • To raise awareness for ASLI in your local and worldwide communities.

As usual we want artists from the wide spectrum of “the arts”. Such as poetry, creative writing, dance, theatre, film, documentary, music, visual arts, photography, comedy, blogging, comic/graphic novels, crafts, fashion, textiles…. If it is creative we are interested.

We would like you to contribute submissions from these chosen topics:

  • Mental illness and your personal story
  • Stigma
  • Stereotypes about mental illness
  • Art and creative therapies
  • Highlighting specific psychiatric illnesses
  • Achieving mental health
  • Recovery
  • Medication and Treatment
  • Politics, society and mental illness

Also we would like to raise awareness for particular mental illness awareness months and weeks during the time period of our campaign:

Submission Guide Lines:

  • Please submit ONE piece of work for consideration (if you submit more than one we will look at your first one and choose you according to this)
  • This call out is open to: both men and women, all ages, worldwide and all abilities
  • State your artistic discipline/medium and chosen topic (If you submit outside the topics requested we will not be able to accept your submission at this time)
  • Please read about us first, see if you want to be part of our mission and make sure you understand who we are what we are about.
  • Do not just email a link (we will not follow it)
  • Remember we are a non-profit organisation
  • If you wish to submit in another language other than English we accept untranslated work in French and Arabic, all other languages must have an English translation attached.
  • If submitting creative writing please do not submit over 500 words and if your piece is longer submit a 500 word abstract
  • State if you are submitting to be: featured in on our ASLI Magazine or ASLI Blog, to be a guest blogger or feature writer, our on-line gallery, you wish to raise awareness for our campaign in your local area, want to fundraising, be involved with our local events (UK only – Portsmouth Based)
  • If you have any queries please contact artsaveslivesinternationl@gmail.com (we aim to get back to you within 48 hours depending on volume of submissions)

Submission Deadlines:

ASLI Magazine or ASLI Blog – submit by Monday the 15th of June

Guest feature writers and Bloggers – submit by Friday the 5th of June

To be featured in our on-line gallery – Open until the 5th of August

To raise awareness for ASLI in your local and worldwide communities – Open until the 5th of August

Being involved in our on-line campaign – Open until the 5th of August

Selection process:

We divide the entries into categories regarding the artistic discipline first such as; Visual art, photography, Performing art/Dance, Film/Documentary, Poetry, Creative Writing, Music…..

Each category is given to an ASLI team member and they then look at the submission criteria and divide your submissions further into the topics.

A select amount is chosen from each topic

And we try to be as representative as possible with our global range of submissions

Be part of the campaign on-line, get involved!!

Tweet us @ASLInonprofit :

Your images and videos of your work add #artsaveslivesinternational

If art has saved your life or you think art saves lives share your selfies telling us using these hash tags #ArtsSavesLives #ArtSavedMyLife #SupportASLI #artsaveslivesinternational

Or you can do this on Instagram the hashtags @artsaveslivesint

Look at all the artist who share with us on Instagram using our hashtag#artsaveslivesinternational 

We will then add you to our campaign gallery and share your involvement with our global audience making you part of the mission

Check out our #artsaveslivesinternational Gallery on our website

Take a look at last month’s:

ASLI Magazine

ASLI Blog

Issue One Campaign Gallery

 We can’t wait to engage with you all!

ASLI Quotes

ASLI launch new global campaign and call for artists – Mental Illness, Mental Health and Recovery

ASLI launch new campaign – Mental Illness, Mental Health and Recovery

CALL FOR ARTISTS – GLOBALLY

We at Art Saves Lives are launching a NEW CAMPAIGN called “Mental Illness, Mental Health and Recovery” to raise awareness about how mental illness affects people, how art helps achieve better mental health and how it can aid in recovery. This coincides with the Mental Health Awareness Month of May but as usual ASLI want more than a month, so we are extending our campaign to 3 months.

Starting today the 5th of May and ending the 5th of August.

ASLI info-graphic by Charlotte Farhan

 

We are looking for artists and creatives from all disciplines from all over the world to be featured:

  • In our second issue of the ASLI Magazine
  • On our ASLI Blog
  • To be a guest blogger or feature writer
  • To get involved with our local event (UK Only)
  • To be featured in our on-line gallery
  • To raise awareness for ASLI in your local and worldwide communities.

 

ASLI info-graphic by Charlotte Farhan

 

 

As usual we want artists from the wide spectrum of “the arts”. Last issue we had poetry, creative writing, dance, theatre, film, documentary, music, visual arts, photography, comedy, blogging, comic/graphic novels, crafts, fashion, textiles…. If it is creative we are interested.

ASLI info-graphic by Charlotte Farhan

 

We would like you to contribute submissions from these chosen topics:

  • Mental illness and your personal story
  • Stigma
  • Stereotypes about mental illness
  • Art and creative therapies
  • Highlighting specific psychiatric illnesses
  • Achieving mental health
  • Recovery
  • Medication and Treatment
  • Politics, society and mental illness

Also we would like to raise awareness for particular mental illness awareness months and weeks during the time period of our campaign:

ASLI info-graphic by Charlotte Farhan

 

 Submission Guide Lines:

  • Please submit ONE piece of work for consideration (if you submit more than one we will look at your first one and choose you according to this)
  • State your artistic discipline and chosen topic (If you submit outside the topics requested we will not be able to accept your submission at this time)
  • Please read about us first, see if you want to be part of our mission and make sure you understand who we are what we are about.
  • Do not just email a link (we will not follow it)
  • Remember we are a non-profit organisation
  • If you wish to submit in another language other than English we accept untranslated work in French and Arabic, all other languages must have an English translation attached.
  • If submitting creative writing please do not submit over 500 words and if your piece is longer submit a 500 word abstract
  • State if you are submitting to be: featured in on our ASLI Magazine or ASLI Blog, to be a guest blogger or feature writer, our on-line gallery, you wish to raise awareness for our campaign in your local area, want to fundraising, be involved with our local events (UK only – Portsmouth Based)
  • If you have any queries please contact artsaveslivesinternationl@gmail.com (we aim to get back to you within 48 hours depending on volume of submissions)

Submission Deadlines:

ASLI Magazine or ASLI Blog – submit by Monday the 15th of June

Guest feature writers and Bloggers – submit by Friday the 5th of June

Being involved in local event (UK – Portsmouth) – queries in by the Friday the 22nd of June

To be featured in our on-line gallery – Open until the 5th of August

To raise awareness for ASLI in your local and worldwide communities – Open until the 5th of August

Being involved in our on-line campaign – Open until the 5th of August

PhototasticCollage-2015-05-04-11-02-17

Selection process:

We divide the entries into categories regarding the artistic discipline first such as; Visual art, photography, Performing art/Dance, Film/Documentary, Poetry, Creative Writing, Music…..

Each category is given to an ASLI team member and they then look at the submission criteria and divide your submissions further into the topics.

A select amount is chosen from each topic

And we try to be as representative as possible with our global range of submissions

 

Be part of the campaign on-line, get involved!!

Tweet us @ASLInonprofit :

Your images and videos of your work add #artsaveslivesinternational

If art has saved your life or you think art saves lives share your selfies telling us using these hash tags #ArtsSavesLives #ArtSavedMyLife #SupportASLI #artsaveslivesinternational

Or you can do this on Instagram the hashtags @artsaveslivesint

Look at all the artist who share with us on Instagram using our hashtag #artsaveslivesinternational 

We will then add you to our campaign gallery and share your involvement with our global audience making you part of the mission

Check out our #artsaveslivesinternational Gallery on our website

 

 

 

This campaign and mission is also personal to ASLI as all of us in our organisation have been, or support a loved one or are still affected by mental illness.

ASLI President - Charlotte Farhan
ASLI President – Charlotte Farhan

Let our voices be heard, let our tool be art and let our mission be change!

Take a look at last month’s:

ASLI Magazine

ASLI Blog

Issue One Campaign Gallery

 We can’t wait to engage with you all!

ASLI info-graphic by Charlotte Farhan

 

 

A Comparison between the experience of European men and women in the colonial periphery, by Mohammed Farhan

Mohammed Farhan
Mohammed Farhan

 

A Comparison between the experience of European men and women in the colonial periphery.

By Mohammed Farhan

 

When looking at the experiences of European men and women in the colonial periphery, it would be expected that these experiences would be informed by the notions of the roles attributed to men and women in European culture at the time. This essay will be focusing on roles assigned to men and women in the process of empire building by looking at various sources written by both European men and women engaged in the periphery of empire, and at the same time it will attempt to explore any attitudes towards these roles as the Empire developed and try to establish any connections that may be relevant.

Starting with the experiences of men in the colonies this essay will look at an example of life in the colonies written by of E. Jerningham Wakefield who had travelled to New Zealand in 1839, upon his return to England in 1844 he published his accounts of his adventures in New Zealand based on his own diaries. The first impression Wakefield gives is of a male dominated society; there is hardly any mention of any women apart from a couple of times were women are mentioned in passing mainly signifying that they were present, however none of their actions appear to warrant any mention, at least not in Wakefield’s opinion.

In this extract Wakefield describes two incidents of note, the first a visit to a farmstead belonging to a Mr. Bell, the second is his recollection of the Wairau Massacre. Beginning with his visit to Mr. Bell’s farm, there is mention of this Mr. Bell having a wife and some children, however it is very apparent from Wakefield’s wording that the farm belongs to the patriarch of the family. Wakefield describes Mr. Bell’s struggle to “tame” the land, detailing both his struggle with nature and against the indigenous population. Wakefield states that Mr. Bell was in the process of cultivating the land but that ‘he had not succeeded in eradicating the fern this first year, and a good deal of it was up among the corn’ (Wakefield, 1955, p.1) This gives a clear description of the hard work involved in being a male settler in one of the colonies.

Essay Image 2

Wakefield then caries on to describe Mr. Bell’s struggles with the native population, particularly with regards land claims. One of the main problems Mr. Bell faced with regards the natives was that whilst he was ‘fair, kind and good tempered’ the native inhabitants were ‘conniving’ (Wakefield, 1955, p.2). Regardless of the racial implications in this extract it is very clear that one of the main difficulties and challenges facing the male settlers in New Zealand was the issue of communicating with and understanding the native people from a different culture. However, according to Wakefield Mr. Bell was able to overcome these issues and by the end his native adversaries ‘honoured him as much for his knowledge as they had learned to stand in awe of his courage and resolution’ (Wakefield, 1955, p.3). This gives a very interesting insight in to what sort of behaviour was expected of a man in the colonies.

The second part of the extract from Wakefield; the Wairau Massacre had its routes in a land dispute between the British settlers, and the native New Zealand Tribes. According to Wakefield to tribal chiefs, Rauparaha and Rangihaeata, felt that the British, represented by Captain Arthur Wakefield, had no right to the Wairau plain. However, Captain Wakefield disagreed with them saying ‘Rangihaeata was a mere bully and that his threats were only noisy vapouring’ (Wakefield, 1955, p.3). It was agreed that this land dispute would be settled by the British Land Claims Commissioner. However in the meantime Captain Wakefield decided to go ahead with the survey of the land in anticipation of the ruling. Rauparaha and Rangihaeata’s response to this was to forcibly expel the surveyors and burn the huts that they had built on the Wairau plain to house them as they conducted the survey. This resulted in a warrant being issued against Rauparaha and Rangihaeata for the destruction of property. This incident offers another example of some of the difficulties faced by the settlers in New Zealand when dealing with the native inhabitants, and stresses the friction that sometimes arose due to the differing cultural practices. In this particular case the main friction comes from the attempt by the settler community to force the native population to conform to the laws and customs of the settler community, particularly involving land ownership, which itself is imported from the core.

This difficulty is further illustrated when later on when the magistrates confronted Rauparaha with regards the warrant against him and Rangihaeata for the destruction of property, even though it appears from Wakefield’s description of the situation that both sides wanted to avoid any violence, the brake down in communication and the fact that each party was following a separate set of customs and traditions when dealing with conflict resolution resulted in the Wairau Massacre.

Even though both the examples that Wakefield has given us in this extract have been edited with publication in mind, and therefore have been presented in a way as to reflect Wakefield and his interests in a positive manner, and furthermore are from a highly partisan point of view; they do give use a valuable insight in to how life in the colonies, and particularly in New Zealand in the mid eighteenth century, was experienced by Wakefield and give us the opportunity to view events from his perspective. It is very plain to see that from Wakefield’s view point the main role of an English man in the colonial periphery was to push forward the boundaries of the empire, with force if necessary as the example of the Wairau Massacre shows. And once settled in the newly acquired land a man’s role is to then defend it from and native incursions and to turn it in to a European style farm through hard work and superior European know how, as illustrated by the account of Mr. Bell and his farm.

Now moving on to an example of a woman’s life in the colonial periphery this essay will now focus on The Complete Indian Housekeeper written in 1890 by Flora Annie Steel and Grace Gardiner. In the late nineteenth century there was a stereo type for the middle-class white woman, particularly in India of a lazy, indolent master’s wife (Loftus, 2009, p.248). An excellent depiction of this stereo type can be found in the image of the magistrate’s wife being attended by her servants published in Captain George Atkinson’s account of life in the hill stations of India (Loftus, 2009, p.248). The image shows a middle-class white British woman being pampered by her Indian servants, one of whom appears to be massaging her feet and legs as the other brushes her hair, as she lays reclined on a wicker chair. As a counter to this stereo type there were several house hold guides written and published especially for British women in empire (Loftus, 2009, p.249).4

Essay Image 1

Steel and Gardiner felt that they had the authority to give advice as they had both lived in India. It is evident from their advice they believed that the colonial wife must take an active role in the management of the house hold, ‘Steel and Gardiner argue that housekeeping in India requires the ‘arduous work’ of household management and a degree of professionalism’ (Loftus, 2009, p.249). However, Steel and Gardiner do concede that not all mistresses in India hade the same standard when managing the household, they state that ‘while one mistress enforces cleanliness… the next may belong to the opposite faction, who, so long as the dinner is nicely served, thinks nothing of it being cooked in a kitchen which is also used as a latrine’ (Steel and Gardiner, 1890, p.1). This statement not only indicates their opinion regards the ‘lazy mistress’ and the possible health risks that might arise from such laziness, but it also points to a relatively racist view of the local Indians; regarding them as being dirty and unsanitary if left to their own devices.

Steel and Gardiner, after discussing the draw backs to being a lazy mistress, then move on to discussing the actual work involved in being a success at managing the household. They claim that as ‘Easy… as the actual housekeeping is in India, the personal attention of the mistress is infinitely more needed here [in India] than at home’ (Steel and Gardiner, 1890, p.1). Steel and Gardiner qualify this statement by explaining that as soon as the mistress were to be absent or neglect her duties, then the Indian servants would quickly fall back in to their old unsanitary habits, as according to them they believed that those habits were inherent to the Indian servants. This they claimed was necessary at least for ‘a few generations of training’ until the Indian servant was started ‘on a new inheritance of habit’ (Steel and Gardiner, 1890, p.2).

Throughout the extract from Steel and Gardiner the Indian servants are referred to as if they were children in need of education and discipline. The best example of this attitude toward the Indian servants can be seen in the last paragraph of the second page, ‘To show what absolute children Indian servants are, the same author has for years adopted castor oil as an ultimatum in all obstinate cases, on the ground that there must be some physical cause for inability to learn or to remember’ (Steel and Gardiner, 1890, p.2).

Moving on to the actual responsibilities that Steel and Gardiner believe the mistress of the household should perform, they range from the management and discipline of the servants to the keeping of accurate financial records of the household expenditure. Steel and Gardiner express their dismay at how many women are lacking in the ability to keep accounts, they believe it is essential that ‘in keeping accounts, a mistress must take the lead, and knowing the proper prices of different articles, and the amount which ought to be consumed, set aside all objections with a high hand’ (Steel and Gardiner, 1890, p.6).

It is clear that from the point of view of Steel and Gardiner that it is of the upmost importance that in the running of the household an ordinary European routine should be maintained, and that it is to the benefit of the of everyone that the English way should be assimilated. However they do acknowledge that there are certain limitations to the ability to maintain an ordinary European routine, but that any changes must be kept to a minimum (Steel and Gardiner, 1890, pp.3-4).

Throughout this extract Steel and Gardiner maintain the importance of the role of the mistress, however towards the end they do set a limitation on this by acknowledging that a ‘good mistress will remember the breadwinner who requires blood-forming nourishment, and the children whose constitutions are being built up day by day’ (Steel and Gardiner, 1890, p.6). This statement firmly places the position of the mistress of the household as subservient to the master of the household and responsible for the upbringing and health of the children.

Steel and Gardiner place the role of the woman firmly within the context of the running and maintenance of the empire, the ‘household was imagined as a microsite of government’ (Loftus, 2009, p.250).

In conclusion, both the sources this essay has focused on have provided an insight in to the roles that at least some people felt were important for both men and women in the colonial periphery. When examining Wakefield’s description of life in New Zealand, it is evident that he felt the role for European men in the colonial periphery was first the expanding of the reach and influence of the Empire, and then once this had been achieved the next role of the European man is to make the land productive in a European fashion and protect it from any rival claims from the indigenous populations.

As for when examining the extract from The Complete Indian Housekeeper, Steel and Gardiner made the argument that it is the responsibility of women to not only maintain the household for the master of the house, but to also export the ideals and beliefs from the centre of the Empire to the periphery. ‘The process of establishing claims to land is seen as masculine, a result of exploration, conquest and the art of politics, but the process of embedding imperialism is seen as requiring feminine attributes, a process of reproductive and ideological change’ (Loftus, 2009, p.244).

 

Bibliography

Internet:

Books:

  • Donna Loftus (2009). Men, Women and Empire. Milton Keynes: The Open University.

Rosie Swayne tells us about her song Cider Mill and how it is a reaction to her observations of a violent, darkly manipulative relationship

Rosie Swayne tells us about her song Cider Mill and how it is a reaction to her observations of a violent, darkly manipulative relationship.

 

Rosie Swayne

 

 

Rosie Swayne, 38, living between Helsinki and the UK.

I grew up on Dartmoor (on a farm on the edge of the moor, not in the prison) and started writing music as soon as I started learning instruments. I met Rachel Sanson at Northampton Uni where we were on the same Performance Studies degree: her superb vocals, performing skills and understanding of my material were a great writing inspiration and we continued doing music together in our band Invocal for the next 10 years – playing live everywhere and releasing lots of brilliant CD’s that were largely ignored by all but our small but awesome fanbase. The band ceased as a full time endeavour in 2010 and I am now writing music for theatre as my job, but Rachel and I are still performing.

What motivated you to deal with the subject of ‘violence against women’ in your art?

It’s The idea of being kept captive by someone’s aggression and influence which is assisted by the validation of the surrounding community and culture. The experiences some people around me have had are staggering – it’s humbling to think they must carry these dark and complicated memories around with them and try to process them as they try to get on with their lives. I try to keep this in mind when I’m complaining about my own hardships, which are more based on things like why oh why did they have to take all the salt and fat out of hula-hoops? now they just taste like general building supplies.


Tell us why you chose this submission?

I wrote this song shortly before I started a family and I was thinking about babies a lot. I guess I was attracted to investigating the lengths a mother might go to to protect her young, and so now I am a mother it has a renewed resonance. It doesn’t seek to convey a moral message, just tell a story based on somebody pushed to the limits. I think Rachel’s voice is perfect for the character in the song – it sounds awesome.


 

 

About the song:

CIDER MILL by Rosie Swayne, performed by Rachel Sanson and Rosie Swayne

The song portrays a character being kept captive by the aggression and influence of an unseen figure, whose power is assisted by the validation of the surrounding community and culture.  It considers the notion of seeking freedom at any cost.

Rachel Sanson sings the main vocal on this recording, which was recorded at Fitdog studios, Northamptonshire and produced by Rosie Swayne & Chris Furner . Music & Lyrics by Rosie Swayne.

Cider Mill

The last time I killed

Was in this mill

One Big Wheel

They let out the hounds

To track me down

Cogs Creak Round

Heave ho

Turn the wheel

Slow stone

Crush the apple

Keep the seed

Crush the captor

Keep the dream

Bolted door

Shards of sun

Feel the dust

In the lungs

Here’s the Adam

Here’s the Eve

Here’s the serpent

Come to free me

I’m nothing for you

Empty subdued

Mill, Crush, Fold

Your oppression has crawled

Into these walls

Mean, Dark, Cold

Heave ho

Apple must

Alcohol

Here’s the blossom

Here’s the tree

Here’s the person

We conceive

Awful dry

Dreadful numb

Never cry

Cork the lungs

Here’s the madness

Here’s the grief

Here’s the anger

Come to free… (repeat)

Hush time little munchkin

There isn’t very long

Cos the hounds’ve gone a-hunting

And mamma’s on the run

It is strange to be so present

So conspicuous and full

Having been until this juncture

Empty, null, invisible

There are scratches in the girders

There are hand prints on the floor

There are claw marks in the door parts

That I couldn’t let be yours

Seems they’re blocking all the bridges

But I’m running in the fields

And the river feels forgiving

As I’m breathing in the free.


 

Why have you chosen the medium you use for your art?

Well… music is the only thing I can do well (apart from write long letters of complaint to KP Snacks). But it’s pretty great to work in an artistic medium that people actually carry around with them in headphones and utilise in their daily lives. As for the style, I set the song in a kind of folky historical world as I have been more and more influenced by folk tales and story telling in my writing in recent years, since I moved through my introspective ‘6th form’ phase which lasted two decades.

What is your process when creating?

I’m very boring about it. I’m extremely detailed (read: slow) which I’m trying to work on now I’m writing for theatre and working to other peoples schedules. People ask me about the process a lot. I’d like to invent something a bit more interesting – perhaps involving me keeping a pencil and empty manuscript by the bed and writing my dreams in notation as I sleep, but the reality is I just sit down and get it done. In between large Facebook breaks of course, which are very important.

Who are you influenced by? What inspired you and your art?

Like most composers my list of musical influences are vast and diverse but I am lately being inspired by Karine Polwart, The Tiger Lillies and Serj Tankian . I am also very inspired by the way current issues are being dealt with in the standup world by artists such as Josie Long and Bridget Christie. Also, while I was heavily pregnant, housebound and looking after my 1 year old we watched a LOT of musicals on my laptop in preparation for my next project. I got very excited about Urinetown and I’m about 10 years too late but I discovered Jerry Springer the Opera and found it to be a work of actual genius. Aarni liked Starlight Express, but what does he know?

 

What does feminism mean to you and do you consider yourself to be a feminist?

Actually I prefer ‘feminazi’- I’m taking the word back. Not really. Feminism means the pursuit of equal rights and opportunities for men and women to me, and is also a word that inspires a lot of uptight jibber-jabber from men AND women which is beyond tedious. People started referring to me as a feminist long before I decided I probably was one. I’ve been continuously accused of man hating in my songs even though if you actually listen to them, men rarely get a mention anywhere.  It’s as if a female person with the slightest attitude just needs to get close to a guitar and OH MY GOD A FEMINAZI! WHY DO YOU HATE MEN SO MUCH?! Um… I was just about to sing a song about tinnitus actually?

What made you want to get involved with our non-profit ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL mission?

I’ve seen some of your stuff on the internet and thought it would be cool to submit something.

Do you feel women have to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously? Do you have any experiences of this?

I do think all people outside of convention have their struggles, but women do experience a certain type of brutal sexualised ridicule for not meeting certain (often irrelevant) expectations, which anyone who has spent more than 5 seconds on the internet can surely confirm.

Do you think that women and men are equal in today’s societies around the world? Have you any experience of this?

Um… overall I think we could probably do a *bit* better

What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for etc…..?

I have campaigned with anti-racism groups and support raising awareness of mental illness issues (which, btw, I do *hilariously* with the song ‘Cheer Up Frowny Face’). But at the moment it’s hard not to focus on the rapidly intensifying issue of climate change. They’re releasing worse and worse data every day and we’re still prattling on about Jeremy fucking Clarkson like particularly idiotic lobsters being cooked alive.

What does the statement ART SAVES LIVES mean to you and has art in anyway “saved” your life in any way?

I’ve seen the amazing effects art and music therapy can have on a person and I would definitely agree that it helps save lives. So hooray for art!

How can your art be used to create change and is this something you want for your art?

Well I don’t like to brag, but my next project is writing a stage musical that will fix climate change.

What are your goals as with your art?

To fix climate change through the medium of musical theatre.

What is your next project or piece that you are working on?

it’s a stage musical …that we’re seeking finance for incidentally … and well I don’t like to brag but… it’s definitely going to fix climate change. You’re welcome!

If you would like to know more about Rosie Swayne please follow these links:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

SoundCloud

 

Writer and Poet Lilly Garwood-Lloyd “I wanted to make a point about how much we associate the vagina with politics or ‘angry’ feminism because in truth it has become a political battleground”

Writer and Poet Lilly Garwood-Lloyd “I wanted to make a point about how much we associate the vagina with politics or ‘angry’ feminism because in truth it has become a political battleground”.

 

Lilly Garwood-Lloyd / Lisa Lawrence
Lilly Garwood-Lloyd / Lisa Lawrence

 

 

Lisa Lawrence, 23, London, England.

Lisa also writes under the name Lilly Garwood-Lloyd and describes herself as a vegetarian, atheist and feminist. Having successfully studied Drama, Applied Theatre and Education and graduated  two years ago from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Lisa discovered feminism and this sparked her creativity to begin writing plays and what she calls “stand-up poetry”. With a background in all manner of creative expression including visual arts, graphic design and millinery Lisa is using her artistry to challenge feminist issues and engage with her audience.

What motivated you to deal with the subject of vaginas in your art?

As someone who has always been very unapologetic and outspoken on the topic of bodies and sex I suppose the ability to discuss the vagina came naturally to me, which it doesn’t for everyone. I felt a bit concerned that the only words many women feel comfortable using for their vagina are sexy or cutesy words, so I started trying to write poems about vaginas.

Tell us why you chose this submission?

 I think humour has the ability to deliver a message in a way which helps you reach people who might otherwise not be willing to listen. I wanted to diffuse a lot of the fear people have about feminism and to show that feminists have a sense of humour and aren’t all angry!

 

The poems I chose to submit are ones which feature something which makes lots of people uncomfortable; vaginas. It seems alien to me that so many people can barely say the word ‘vagina’ when they came out of one. I wanted to make a point about how much we associate the vagina with politics or ‘angry’ feminism…because in truth it has become a political battleground, from contraceptives, to abortion, to rape the vagina features in each and every one. I wanted to lighten the tone, so every day people could feel able to discuss vaginas, take ownership of their vagina and see it as part of who they are (rather than a dusty storage cupboard for entertaining guests or a hallway for babies).

 


 

 

Naming your ninny

by Lisa Lawrence

I find I often envy men

cos they get to have a willy

not in a weird Freudian sense

but cos the word is cute and silly

Men get to have a todger

They get to have a winkie

even words like cock and dick

at least make it sound kinky

 

me, I’ve got a vag

an axe-wound or a gash

I dare you to find a word for it

Which isn’t gross or brash

 

Men can have meat and two veg

Something edible at least

Like a salami or a sausage

upon which one could feast

I don’t want to have a beaver

I want something which sounds nice

Fuck having a ‘Lady Garden’

I want something to entice

Words like dong or prick

aren’t such a terrible thing

and even the term bell end

has got a certain ring

 

See men have got a pork sword

A sort of weapon you could say

Even plain old penis

is nice in it’s own way

 

Not me, I’ve got a vagina

A cunt or maybe twat

where the only nice variant

is another word for cat

 

Who wants to sip from a furry cup

or plow a phoof or slit?

what’s sexy about a slut-hole

or just calling it a ‘clit’

 

I want a revolution

You see enough is quite enough

It’s not a fucking ninny

and it’s not a fucking muff

 

It may seem insignificant

and I really hate to whinge

but I swear to God I’ll kill someone

If they tell me it’s a minge!


My Vagina isn’t political

By Lisa Lawrence

My vagina isn’t political

My vagina doesn’t care

about all those deep philosophical things

like what to do with pubic hair

 

Why must my vagina be radical?

Politics isn’t her thing

she’d much rather talk about French lace

than cotton torpedoes with string

 

My vagina wants a quiet life

not too quiet, if you know what I mean

but she doesn’t want to talk about women’s rights

She’d much rather flick the bean

 

See my vagina, she’s too often distracted

by all the good looking men-folk

to be thinking about labour or childbirth

she just wants a damn good stroke

 

My vagina, she’s satirical

She doesn’t intend to be blunt

She doesn’t see why ‘pussy’ can’t be playful

or why we’re so afraid of ‘cunt’

 

Perhaps my vagina is lazy

but the truth is it’s all too complex

and like most other vaginas

she only really cares about sex!


Why have you chosen the medium you use for your art?

I’ve always been incredibly drawn to rhyming poetry, it’s easy to be drawn into the rhythm and I think it is one of the best written forms of comedy. Also because poems can be any length, about any topic I find them incredibly enjoyable as a written medium. Whilst I also write plays I find poems pack a punch when they have a message in a much more direct way.

What is your process when creating?

The beauty of writing is you can do it anywhere, so a lot of my work is written into the notes on my iphone whilst undertaking journeys to and from work. Sometimes I also go low-tech with a good old fashioned paper and pen! In terms of contemplating a theme for a poem I’ll often start with a topic my friends and I have discussed, or something that frustrates me – my poem ‘Naming your ninny’ is really all based on my hatred of the word ‘minge’.

Who are you influenced by? What inspired you and your art?

As a poet I’m incredibly inspired by Dr Seuss. His writing sucks me in every time, even now! As a playwright I’m influenced by the work of Harold Pinter and Sarah Kane. As an individual I’m inspired by my late Grandmother Sheila Cullen, who to me was the very definition of success, and the person I always aspired to be.

What does feminism mean to you and do you consider yourself to be a feminist?

I think the word feminist is hugely misunderstood. To me feminism today is about equality for both genders, that does mean equal pay for women but it also means equal rights to paternity leave for fathers. For me feminism is about no one being prejudged based on their genitalia, a persons gender is far more complex than what is between their legs. I also think trans* issues like provisions of unisex bathrooms should be really high on our list of priorities as feminists. In many ways I don’t feel the word feminist is the best word to use to cover what I feel feminism is…but since gender equalist doesn’t have the same ring then I am very proud to call myself a feminist.

What made you want to get involved with our non-profit ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL mission?

Having trained in Applied Theatre I’ve always been passionate about the role the arts plays in positive social change. I feel that all artists and creatives should be behind the ASLI philosophy. We all have a duty and a responsibility to use the incredible tools and skills we have for the betterment of others.

Do you feel women have to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously? Do you have any experiences of this?

As a woman I have been shocked to realise how much my body apparently belongs to the public domain. People are happy to comment on what I need to do to make it look better and having moved to London I couldn’t believe how many strangers felt completely comfortable making sexualised comments about my body on the street. I do worry that women therefore feel a greater pressure for their bodies to meet certain standards than they do for their minds.

Do you think that women and men are equal in todays societies around the world? Have you any experience of this?

I am very privileged to have been born at a time and in a place where women enjoy more rights and freedoms freedoms than at any other time in history. However we are still so far from real equality for both sexes. A world where a woman can earn less than a man for the same job is not an equal world.

What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for etc..?

The more I learn about the world the more causes I find I am drawn to. I am passionate about feminism, gay rights/equal marriage, animal rights and anything which helps people steer away from consumerism.

What does the statement ART SAVES LIVES mean to you and has art in anyway savedyour life in any way?

Through those turbulent teenage years where I’m sure everyone everyone questions their existence and feels worthless the arts were the place where I found a community of like-minded people. It was in my drama classes that I first felt what it was like to belong and in my graphic design classes where I first learned to be comfortable with my own presence in silence.

How can your art be used to create change and is this something you want for your art?

I think art has an incredibly transformative power. If my work makes one person more comfortable talking about their genitalia, or changes the way they perceive feminism then I’m honestly delighted.

What are your goals as with your art?

My goal is to create poems that are provocative, entertaining and then make you think when you least expect it.

What is your next project or piece that you are working on?

My next big goal with my feminist work is to promote an international community art project called the satirical vaginas which encourages participants from all walks of life to submit satirical doodles of vaginas as a way of encouraging discussion about the many different forms vaginas take. You can follow the project on twitter @SatiricalVagina

I’m also working on creating some performance films of my stand-up poetry and on a new play named ‘Made Glorious Summer

 

If you would like to know more about Lilly Garwood-Lloyd  follow these links:

Website 

Twitter

 

 

Durinda Montoya-Cearley has written an empowering children’s book which tells little girls they can be anything they wish to be.

Durinda Montoya-Cearley has written an empowering children’s book which tells little girls they can be anything they wish to be.

 

Durinda Montoya-Cearley
Durinda Montoya-Cearley

 

Durinda Montoya-Cearley, 54, Fresno, CA, U.S. talks to ASLI about her children’s book which has a powerful message; that girls can grow up to be anything they wish to be. Addressing the issue of stereotyping girls at a young age and how important it is to educate boys and girls that gender is not limiting nor exclusive. .

Throughout my childhood, like gypsies, my family moved frequently.  After high school, I joined the Air Force. Four years later, I then served in the DIA, which allowed me to travel & live overseas. Finally, I moved and settled down in San Luis Obispo, where I pursued a career in law enforcement and acquired a 2 year degree in Special Education and a B.S. degree in Anthropology/Sociology and Writing. I now call Fresno home and actively pursue numerous forms of artistic expression, from poetry to visual art and music.

What motivated you to deal with the subject of breaking free of female stereotypes in your art?

I was looking for a children’s book for a little girl that communicated that girls can be whatever they want to be when they grow up.  Being unsuccessful in finding such a book, I decided to create a picture book that expressed to little girls that they “can be anything they want to be, just wait and see.”

Tell us why you chose this submission?

“What In This Big World Can You Be?” breaks female stereotypes by letting little girls know that they can choose a career that would not be considered a typical career for a female.

 

What in this Big World Can You Be? By Durinda Montoya-Cearley
What in this Big World Can You Be?
By Durinda Montoya-Cearley

 

 

In days of yore, long before, a princess you would surely be, but times have changed and for you there are many more opportunities and much to see. For your dreams can take you and your adventurous bear  here, there and everywhere!
In days of yore, long before, a princess you would surely be, but times have changed and for you there are many more opportunities and much to see.
For your dreams can take you and your adventurous bear here, there and everywhere!

 

As a veterinarian, you could help giraffes, monkeys and elephants who may feel a little blue,  because animals need doctors too!
As a veterinarian, you could help giraffes, monkeys and elephants who may feel a little blue,
because animals need doctors too!

 

Why have you chosen the medium you use for your art?

I choose a picture book format to express a positive message in hopes it would be an easy and short book for parents to share before bedtime.  I hope the rhythmic rhyming storytelling style and simple artwork will attract young readers and help them to remember the message.

What is your process when creating?

For writing, the creative process comes in bits and pieces.  I always keep a pad and pen with me, because I never know when the fire of inspiration will spark the creation of the next verse or picture idea.  Then, I look at all my notes and organize them, then re-organize them until the story flows.

Who are you influenced by? What inspired you and your art?

I am and was influenced by numerous experiences in life and by strong female role-models in history and those involved in current events.  Such women as Condoleezza Rice, Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, Katharine Hepburn, Ellen DeGeneres, Queen Elizabeth I.  Inspiration to create a painting, a musical composition, poetry, and writing comes from an active imagination that has remained with me since childhood.  For me, I must create, as it is who I am.  I have to have and thrive on artistic expression.  My current job and past positions do not define who I am, my art does.  I work a 9 to 5 job in order to create art.

What does feminism mean to you and do you consider yourself to be a feminist?

For me, feminism means being strong and confident and to venture off what is considered by society to be the normal path (for a woman).  And, balancing that independence and strength with a gentler side that does like doors opened for me, despite the fact I can open the doors myself.  Knowing I have a voice, I have an opinion, and knowing that voice and opinion is important and is not something to be ignored or silenced.

What made you want to get involved with our non-profit ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL mission?

There are so many countries even in today’s world where women struggle to have a voice, and where that voice is silenced by inherent beliefs or cultural influences, which are imposed by male governed societies.  These women are denied a voice.  Also, there are too many animals harmed and destroyed throughout the world.  These animals have no voice.

 

Do you feel women have to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously? Do you have any experiences of this?

I feel women do have to struggle to break from social norms and stereotypes, and in some countries, this struggle is tremendous.   I have been fortunate, although I have entered careers that years ago were considered predominantly careers for men, my abilities and knowledge were not questioned and if they were, I was unaware.  But, I know I am an exception.

Do you think that women and men are equal in today’s societies around the world? Have you any experience of this?

No, I do not think women and men are equal in a number of societies around the world. My degree in Anthropology/Sociology and Writing taught that there are a number of countries where women struggle for not only equal rights, but fundamental rights as a human being.

What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for etc …..?

Issues I am passionate about are environmental issues, as these issues affect everyone worldwide. I am also passionate about children who live in impoverished communities, as their struggle to break free of that environment is great, and children who live in abusive family situations.  I graduated high school at the age of 16 and signed up for the Air Force immediately.  I did this to escape from the instability of a home environment of living with my mother, who was neglectful and abusive or living with my father, where I struggled to fit into a Hispanic community I knew nothing of and avoid the gang influences.  Additionally, I am concerned about saving wildlife and affects devastating ecosystems have on indigenous species.  I believe there exists a false impression that it does not matter to humans if ecosystems and the creatures that those systems sustain are destroyed.  We, earth, cannot lose more species than what we already have.  Even within this last decade, animals have gone the way of the Dodo bird, including the Baiji Dolphin, an intelligent mammal.  It makes you wonder, what did that last dolphin think while it swam alone in the Yangtze River looking for a mate.  Did it die a natural death or from loneliness.

What does the statement ART SAVES LIVES mean to you and has art in anyway “saved” your life in any way?

Art has always been part of me.  As a young child my imagination and art allowed me to escape the abusive and harsh world around me.  I spent most of my childhood and teen years secluded in my room, a safe haven, where I would draw or write about imagined places and secret worlds.  It saved me from the reality that existed beyond the bedroom door.

Art Saves Lives also means artist can convey important messages to those who may be unaware of certain situations or give encouragement to others to act to change a negative situation they know exists, but have ignored.

How can your art be used to create change and is this something you want for your art?

I hope my art, whether it is a song or poem I wrote, a picture I painted or a picture book I wrote for little girls can have some positive change or touch someone; to whatever small degree.  Some songs/poems I have written have deep, personal messages about life struggles and overcoming those, maybe someone will look at a painting I created and feel the depth of emotion expressed on the canvas, or a little girl somewhere reads a short picture book entitled “What In This Big World Can You Be” and be inspired to pursue her dream of becoming a marine biologist.

What are your goals as with your art?

Regarding creating on canvas, my goal is to one day have a small studio, where not only my work can be displayed but that of other artist who also create to express emotions that  communicate to others.  One series of paintings I am working on centres on Breaking Free; Breaking Free can have many meanings – for one person it can mean breaking free from society norms, for someone else it can be breaking free from his or her past, it can be whatever someone wants the meaning to be.   Concerning writing, I hope to continue to create songs and poetry that conveys a message.

What is your next project or piece that you are working on?

I would like to start working on writing and the artwork for another children’s book that expresses everyone is different and that’s okay.  I also have a concept to write a picture book about feelings and everything, every creature feels, no animal wants to be hurt or experience pain.

And is there anything you would like to add to your interview?

I hope, my creations, whether read (such as a picture book), seen (something created on canvas) or heard (a song or poem), can bring about some positive change, which is what ASLI is all about.  Thank you.

If you would like to know more about Durinda Montoya-Cearley please follow these links:

Website

Facebook Page 

Facebook Profile 

 

 

Photographer Beta Bajgartova “I want to keep capturing emotions and creating short stories in one frame”

Photographer Beta Bajgartova “I want to keep capturing emotions and creating short stories in one frame”.

 

Photographer Beta Bajgartova
Photographer Beta Bajgartova

 

Beta Bajgartova, 39, Dublin, Beta is originally from the Czech Republic and has been living in Ireland for ten years. Woking as a journalist for local newspapers in her home town of Uherske Hradiste and then worked as a reporter for the Czech Radio in Brno, Zlin and Prague and also for China Radio International in Beijing. After seven years in journalism Beta changed her career and started working as a commercial photographer in Dublin in 2004.

I liked being journalist but photography was always a much bigger passion and love of mine. My father is an artist – ceramist and sculptor so naturally my home environment was my art background.

What motivated you to deal with the subject of women and their emotions in your art?

Initially I wanted to create a collection of strong portraits in this stunning location I found in Dublin. But as the idea developed I decided I was going to create not only portraits but also a whole story in one picture. I used long exposures to achieve the ‘ghost effect’ and reveal what people are dreaming about and longing for. The whole collection of eighteen photographs is called Dreams and although it’s not exclusively women matter there is dominance of female models and stories.

 

These are part of the collection “Dreams” that was created in Dublin in April and May 2012. “Dreams” is a series of eighteen photographs about the wishes, hopes and secret desires that we all might have but are too embarrassed to share with our closest friends. I’m trying to tell a full story about the subject of each photograph. The ghost effect, which is achieved by getting the object off the frame in the middle of exposure, evokes something hidden and too personal to share. I would like the viewer to feel that the subject of each photograph has confided in them.

 

 

Tell us why you chose this submission?

The pictures I have submitted relate to women universally. Women in each part of the world dream of love, having a baby, being able to run away from a place that they are not happy in, they dream about having a different body, about a closer relationship with their daughters and about their departed husbands. All of the pictures have potential to communicate with women on a personal level as well as with the audience.

Why have you chosen the medium you use for your art?

Photography is my livelihood. I take pictures for clients almost every day. But I don’t want to burn out so I’m trying to challenge myself with new non-commercial projects all the time. It keeps me warm and loving and appreciating all the commercial jobs I do. Photography to me is an amazingly versatile medium. All the aspects from working with the light and technique through the post-production process to the final print are very exciting to me.

 

Photography by - Beta Bajgartova
Photography by – Beta Bajgartova

 

What is your process when creating?

The beginning is simply an idea, which is settling. During these times, which can last months, I wouldn’t do much, just dream and think of the pictures I would like to see. I would also talk to close people about the idea. It helps me establish details of the theme and the style. The next step is production – organizing the shoot, getting models, getting props, finding location, sorting out timings and logistics etc. Once the production is done and days are set I work efficiently and rationally. I shoot with digital camera and I tend to treat it like the analogue camera. I have the picture in my mind and I know how to get it. The Photoshop post-production is usually quite simple – colour corrections, levels adjustments, white balance correction etc.

Who are you influenced by? What inspired you and your art?

My visual icon is Paolo Roversi. I love and study the work of a Czech photographer Josef Sudek. And I’m a huge admirer of Annie Leibowitz.

 

Photography by - Beta Bajgartova
Photography by – Beta Bajgartova

 

What does feminism mean to you and do you consider yourself to be a feminist?

Feminism to me me means respect to women. Respect in the whole important meaning of this word. Respect, protection, and of course equal rights – these aspects should be part of our lives no matter what age, sex or education we are and in this sense I consider myself a feminist. Women are amazing and I’m convinced it’s women who really rule the world. Unfortunately men get most of the credits.

What made you want to get involved with our non-profit ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL mission?

I love art and I think art is important; I try to enrich my world and my children’s world with art because I do believe they can learn from art and they can express their feelings through art when words are hard to find.

 

Photography by - Beta Bajgartova
Photography by – Beta Bajgartova

 

Do you feel women have to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously? Do you have any experiences of this?

Sadly yes in many parts of the world. But I think it’s common in all societies – if you don’t conform to social norms and want to be taken seriously you have to work a lot harder to prove yourself. And women have to work double harder.

Do you think that women and men are equal in today’s societies around the world? Have you any experience of this?

Men and women are not equal anywhere in the world. I was lucky I was born in a place where women in the past have fought for our rights and as a result I can vote, I can go to work and nobody has any reservations to me wearing trousers and cutting my hair short. I can choose my life partner; I can choose when I would like to have kids, I can go to college, I can make money and I can be opened about my sex orientation. However I also still live in a society, that doesn’t help me bring up kids and doesn’t appreciate managing, logistic and organizing skills that I have developed as a caring parent, in society that doesn’t support my creativity where women make less money than men for the same work, in a society that is characterised by gender imbalance and in a society that can be very sexist. I am personally always attacked when I come back home to Czech republic and get surrounded by billboards and advertisements with teasing pictures of young women selling tyres, building equipment or stationery. If you really start thinking about it the list of personal experiences of all women would be quite long even if in our relatively comfortable western world, many of us fail to see it.

 

Photography by - Beta Bajgartova
Photography by – Beta Bajgartova

 

What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for etc…..?

I am passionate about women’s body perception, about bringing up girls in western societies and about any form of physical or psychological violence against women. I would volunteer for any cause that would make women’s livelihood better in any part of the world.

What does the statement ART SAVES LIVES mean to you and has art in anyway “saved” your life in any way?

Yes, I think art can save lives because art can heal our minds or provoke us, art can get people to  talk, get people together, art can motivate us and make our lives better, art can be created for philanthropy causes and art can educate. A planet without art would be a completely different place.

How can your art be used to create change and is this something you want for your art?

Yes, of course! My submitted photographs can be used as a strong communicator between audience and for example charity organization. I believe they can appeal to audience and get people talk and think.

What are your goals as with your art?

I want to keep trying capturing emotions and creating short stories in one frame. In the Dream collection I wanted to make my audience to get the sense that they are not alone. That there is someone who understands how they feel and someone they can share stories with without talking.

What is your next project or piece that you are working on?

I’m travelling back home to Czech republic and I’m going to be working on a collection called Memories From the Childhood. I don’t know much about other art than photography but I would like to try and create mixed media images. My aim is to create a series of abstract, visually beautiful and emotional pictures which will hopefully make people think about their own childhood emotions, colours and glimpses and which will remind to parents that it probably won’t be the amount of toys or sweets or trips to fun parks and playgrounds that children will remember when they’re grown up.

If you would like to know more about Beta Bajgartova please follow these links:

Website 

Twitter

Facebook

 

Composer Sophie Paulette Jupillat “I felt strong and happy when I made art, art truly saved my life and was my only hope”.

Composer Sophie Paulette Jupillat “I felt strong and happy when I made art, art truly saved my life and was my only hope”.

 

Sophie Paulette Jupillat
Sophie Paulette Jupillat

 

Sophie Paulette Jupillat, 21, Orlando, FL, U.S. Also known as Phoenix or PhoenixMusique. A French Venezuelan: born in Venezuela but adopted by French parents who moved to the US when Sophie was two. Sophie creates music which speaks to the core of you, it evokes memories and emotions which are hidden deep within oneself. We at ASLI fell in love with Sophie’s music and knew that this artist needed to be heard.

Growing up I was surrounded with books, art and music of all genres, which led to my unquenchable passion for writing and music.

What motivated you to deal with the subject of female stereotypes in your art?

As I was privileged in certain respects when growing up, particularly in the area of education, my childhood and teenage years were horrible and rife with emotional abuse. This opened my eyes at an early age to both the unfairness and the beauty of life. My appreciation for all things beautiful about the human race and the pursuit to make it better through art is a direct product of my environment.

I composed Simmering Soul as a response piece to a man’s comment about women’s emotions and ability to compose. He stated that women are too emotional to be able to compose great pieces on the level that Mozart or Liszt could. In addition, this piece was also a subtle lash out to my family, who thought I was ‘abnormally quiet’ for a girl. Stereotypes like these need to be brought down, and women need to find a place in the arts where they can be respected as much as their men counterparts. A woman should be as quiet as she wants, be able to create art how and when she wants, whether in the face of adversity, or in the embracing arms of nature. Womankind is a simmering spirit!

Simmering Soul begins with strings and piano quietly, mirroring how subdued I felt in my household. As the piece progresses, the strings and piano get louder, gaining a crescendo as the clarinet joins the fray. In the middle of the piece comes the peaceful vivid resolution: a swell of strings and clarinet with the piano in the background. Near the end of the piece a jazzy flair comes into play, and the accordion and horns make their appearance. It becomes a celebration of life, an emancipation of spirit: like I achieved through the completion of this piece, and the pursuit of my art; like the ardent journey women have made, and still have to make to achieve complete freedom.

 

 

Tell us why you chose this submission?

I saw this submission opportunity on Facebook and immediately decided to apply. Many contests for Women’s History Month pop up every year, but the earnestness with which Art Saves Lives promoted the submission invitation and its goal called to me on a personal level. I knew I had something special I could give.

Why have you chosen the medium you use for your art?

There is no specific reason; whether I’m writing or composing music, whatever the heart of the art is, I choose what is best for it. For Simmering Soul and most of my music compositions, I tend to favour orchestral instruments; they give a polyphonic deep voice that I feel best conveys the emotion of the piece.

What is your process when creating?

It is very disorganized most of the time; often times, my music and writing pursue me! Sometimes, a tune floats into my head one day fully formed, with orchestral instruments and all, and I later go to my keyboard and transcribe what I can. Other times, I just mess around on the keyboard and find a melody that I like, then spend months polishing it up. For my writing, usually an idea springs into my head, or a dialogue between characters, or a line of description, and I write an outline of what I think the story or poem will be. It can take from one day to months and months to finish, depending on the work.

 

 

Who are you influenced by? What inspired you and your art?

I am influenced musically by big bands (like Benny Goodman and Gershwin) and the great composers (like Mancini and John Williams). I am also influenced by classical music and soft rock from the 70’s. I was classically trained as a pianist and have combined that with my love of jazz to create myself a genre. For my writing, I am influenced by classical French literature (like Hugo, Gautier, or Balzac), English literature, Gothic literature of all kinds, science fiction and mystery. Whether in music or art, and whatever the genre, I love writing about anything of the human condition, the reason for living, the beauty of nature..

What does feminism mean to you and do you consider yourself to be a feminist?

To me, feminism means equal rights for men and women in all aspects of social, political, cultural, scientific, and economic life. The fact that in the 21st century, women are still lesser than men, if not in the work place (such as having a lesser salary), then socially (such as in all the stereotypes degrading women—the list is endless), is an outrage. I am a feminist, yes, in the sense that I feel we women shouldn’t be treated as property, and are just as capable as men of doing things. However, I am not of the ‘Nazi feminist’ trend that is sadly emerging in our society today due to misunderstandings and unwillingness to face facts on the part of both men and women.

What made you want to get involved with our non-profit ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL mission?

One hears a lot about various organizations trying to raise awareness during Women’s History Month. Usually, though, these types of organizations look for something very specific, often shunning the many varied issues that Women’s History Month raises by its nature. Some are limited to one form of art. ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL drew my attention because its mission is universal, both to contributors and to the public.  It welcomed all types of art that women can do, instead of selecting just one. The content ASLI called for was about issues that are deeply resonant in our world today: education, violence, stereotypes, equal rights, all very real and very insidious problems that need to be addressed.

Do you feel women have to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously? Do you have any experiences of this?

Sadly, yes, I do feel we have to project an image in order to be taken seriously, specifically at work and at school. Sometimes, I feel we are discouraged from taking certain paths because ‘men will always do it better.’ For example, for a time, I was a computer science major, and the number of silently or overtly derisive attitudes this evinced was astonishing. The mentality is: women cannot do science. I had a similar experience with music. I’ve been composing since I was 13. I made a male close family friend listen to a few of my compositions one day, and he said they were nice, but it was obvious a woman wrote them. He said it was obvious because women’s inherent approach to music is “daintier and lighter than a man’s. There aren’t female equivalents of Rachmaninoffs, powerful composers,” he said. It made my blood boil.

During interviews, on the other hand, I’ve felt that I’ve had to play up my femininity in order to be taken seriously. The demands placed on women to be a certain way is much more intense than for men. Just taking a look at ads today, the woman has to be curvy but skinny, sexy, all done up, and smart, but not too much because after all, she is to be desired by men, but not be competition. She has to cook, be a mother and be the ‘ideal wife.’ Even women reinforce stereotypes among themselves! My own mother told me to be independent, and yet she insisted I be a good cook, a housekeeper, and always dressed up to the nines no matter where I was.

Do you think that women and men are equal in today’s societies around the world? Have you any experience of this?

Definitely not, as you can see from what I’ve stated above, and in Third World countries the situation is even worse.

What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for etc…..?

I am passionate about equality, for everybody. I am passionate about equal income, about women’s rights, about the education and care of children, particularly adopted ones. I have volunteered at children’s summer camps, art camps, and would do it again. I also would volunteer for anything concerning the arts and/or languages.

What does the statement ART SAVES LIVES mean to you and has art in anyway “saved” your life in any way?

ART SAVES LIVES means exactly what it says. Art has the potential to touch the human psyche in a deep and life-influencing way; it can inspire one to do so much. Art definitely saved my life during my teenage years of emotional abuse. When my own adoptive parents were telling me I would be a failure, and that my art was nothing special, that I could never do anything with it, plunging ahead and creating was my coping method. Being able to write creatively and play music was my own secret garden in my family world of chaos and destruction. If I felt worthless back then, at least I felt like my own person. I felt strong and happy when I made art. Art truly saved my life and was my only hope.

How can your art be used to create change and is this something you want for your art?

My music and writing can be used to inspire awareness of the beauty of the world around us, to appeal to the better human in all of us. I like to think that as I always put so much of myself in all my work, people around the world who can experience my art will find themselves mentally communicating and communing with my art. I also think that by the very act of creating art, I can inspire fellow women to do the same, regardless of their background: Whether one was born in luxury, or whether one was born in a Venezuelan barrio (as is my case), one can achieve great heights.

 

 

What are your goals as with your art?

My goal is to keep perfecting my art and touching people’s lives. It is my hope one day to be a published novelist and poet, as well as a film composer.

What is your next project or piece that you are working on?

I have so many I can’t list them all. But a couple of my ongoing musical projects are varying instrumental jazz pieces, a techno piece, and a Russian waltz (part of my three part Waltz of the Romanov’s series). Writing-wise, I am working on a play, several science fiction stories, a Gothic novella, a short story, and poetry.

And is there anything you would like to add to your interview?

No, just that I am very honoured to be a part of this project and would love to contribute more in the future!

If you would like to know more about Sophie Paulette Jupillat follow these links:

SoundCloud

Facebook

Linked In

 

The band Brittle Sun discuss violence against women in their song Last One Standing and use their music to challenge the status quo: ASLI speak to lead vocalist Viki Mealings

The band Brittle Sun discuss violence against women in their song Last One Standing and use their music to challenge the status quo: ASLI speak to lead vocalist Viki Mealings.

Viki Mealings lead vocalist from Brittle Sun
Viki Mealings lead vocalist from Brittle Sun

 

Vicki Mealings is the lead vocalist from the trio band Brittle Sun who are Melbourne based. With a vivid personality as a band and enigmatic live performances Brittle Sun are more than musicians they are artists who use inspiration from spoken word and collaborate with local poets.

The song ‘Last One Standing’ was co-written with my friend Megan, who’s a writer and editor. We’re a small but diverse bunch in terms of age and background. I’ve always loved music. The first song I loved was ‘Alexander Beetle’ by Melanie. I started out drawing and making little storybooks when I was tiny. It didn’t occur to me to play music until much later. I grew up in Melbourne, which is a great place to be if you like poetry and music.

What motivated you to deal with the subject of Violence Against Women in your art? Tell us why you chose this submission?

The song is very loosely autobiographical, but also inspired by the experiences of women we knew. The song was written a while ago, and it will mean different things to different people. We saw the call out, and we thought the song might be what Art Saves Lives were looking for in terms of the subject matter.


 

Submission Song: Last One Standing 

Lyrics by Megan Green and Viki Mealings. Music by Brittle Sun.

Our song ‘Last One Standing’ is very loosely autobiographical, but also inspired by the experiences of women we knew. The lyrics took a long time to get right, as there are a lot of stories in there and we wanted something a bit universal. The final edit of the lyrics is a long way from what we started with, but we kept the basic hook that makes the chorus.

We wanted to keep the music really simple so as to keep the main focus on the words and the voice. So we just laid down three tracks-acoustic guitar, keys, and astbory bass. That’s all.

David Jetson played the bass on the track and Stewart Garrett played keys. The song was recorded and produced by Kim Lajoie at Obsessive Music in Melbourne, Australia.



Why have you chosen the medium you use for your art?

I used to do visual art, but I couldn’t really say what I wanted through it. So I started writing poems and songs. Writing is the most satisfying part of the process. Performing is also a necessary part of the process, but writing is what gives the joy.  

What is your process when creating?

Sometimes ideas will materialise out of nowhere-just snippets. The process is all about having the discipline to write them down and then build on them. It takes work.

 

 

Who are you influenced by? What inspired you and your art?

There are so many influences-family, friends, enemies, other artists, and well-known artists. Of the well-known artists, Lou Reed was a pretty big influence as is Patti Smith.

What does feminism mean to you and do you consider yourself to be a feminist?

It’s going to mean different things to different people. Enabling equal opportunity is the tenet everyone’s familiar with, but for me it goes further than that. It’s about recognising and addressing the injustices of the past and present and taking responsibility for the future.

What made you want to get involved with our non-profit ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL mission?

ASLI is inclusive. It provides a voice to the voiceless.

 

 

Do you feel women have to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously? Do you have any experiences of this?

In general, I think women are taken less seriously, whether they conform or not.

Do you think that women and men are equal in today’s  societies  around the world? Have you any experience of this?

No. The average woman in global terms works as an unpaid farmhand and does most of the work. We’re a lot better off here in the West but there are still issues for example difficulties with balancing home and family life and unrealistic societal expectations in terms of work, parenting and physical appearance.

What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for etc…..?

It concerns me that children from low income families don’t have the same educational opportunities as those from higher income families. I’m also concerned about Indigenous health, in terms of the scandalously high infant mortality rates, higher rates of poverty, and a greatly reduced life expectancy.

 

 

What does the statement ART SAVES LIVES mean to you and  has art in anyway “saved” your life in any way?

I once witnessed a music therapist working with a young person who had a suffered a traumatic brain injury. That person was agitated, confused, and restless most of the time. Except when the music therapist was singing and playing guitar. The music definitely had a calming effect. Every time the music played, it was as though the former, uninjured personality resurfaced; something that was thought to be irretrievably lost. It was quite a thing to witness.

How can your art be used to create change and is this something you want for your art?

Art can create change in a number of ways. It can help people to think in different ways about a given situation and it can challenge the status quo. Sometimes it’s a conscious thing, sometimes it isn’t. We want people to enjoy what we do and to feel proud of who they are. I think it’s really important to celebrate diversity and to promote solidarity.

What are your goals as with your art?

To keep on improving and to leave behind a body of work we can be proud of.

What is your next project or piece that you are working on?

We’re currently recording some new songs for our next EP. I also want to get my poems into print.

 

Viki Mealings - Brittle Sun
Viki Mealings – Brittle Sun

 

If you would like to know more about Brittle Sun follow these links:

Website

Facebook Page

YouTube 

 

 

Malaysian Artist Nell-Lynn Perera “Art has saved my life, it has given me a means to express myself quietly without the need for words”

Malaysian Artist Nell-Lynn Perera “Art has saved my life, it has given me a means to express myself quietly without the need for words”.

 

Self Portrait | 03 - by Nell-Lynn Perera acrylic, charcoal on canvas 100 x 100 cm
Self Portrait | 03 – by Nell-Lynn Perera
acrylic, charcoal on canvas
100 x 100 cm

 

Nell-Lynn Perera, 43, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a self taught artist who started 3 years ago.

I am a highly sensitive person (HSP) and I always go within when I paint. Often times I paint in a trance like state. Hence, the Universe is a theme that I often paint. I am not a student of astronomy so this particular fascination of painting the Universe is really me painting Consciousness, something that I have come to know.

 

What motivated you to deal with the subject of beauty and stereotypes in your art?

The motivation mostly came from real life experiences.

 

Tell us why you chose these submissions?

I wanted to reach more people through my painting and writing. I wanted my voice to be heard. I wanted others to know that they are not alone should they feel the same way as I do. I wanted my paintings to speak of words that I am incapable of expressing.

 

Blog posts:

Voices of Nin: Beauty 1

Voices of Nin: Beauty 2

Voices of Nin: real Women

 

 

Why have you chosen the medium you use for your art?

I mostly paint without knowing what I am about to paint so acrylics work best for me as it’s quick drying and allows me to paint as quickly as there is an energy flowing within me when I paint. There is a calling to paint without knowing what I am painting. I paint from all directions of my canvas/paper until I see something form. Once this is revealed to me, I continue painting in one direction. I take breaks if it is a big piece but not for long as the calling to paint is too great.

 

What is your process when creating?

I spend a lot of time not painting. Unlike most artists who produce on a daily or weekly basis, I don’t.  I rely heavily on how I feel, and this feeling, this urge to paint only arises when I have been still for some time. I don’t paint because I want to. I paint because I need to.

 

 

Who are you influenced by? What inspired you and your art?

I am influenced by what lives in me; all that I have lived through. Consciousness, love and  following my higher self’s inner guidance is what inspires and beckons me to paint.

 

 

What does feminism mean to you and do you consider yourself to be a feminist?

Feminism to me means equality and freedom to express and be without judgement or any preconceived ideas from years of stereotyping women.  I don’t consider myself a feminist as I don’t believe in stereotyping myself and try my best at not stereotyping others. I simply am a woman.

 

What made you want to get involved with our non-profit ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL mission?

I got involved because I believe in the mission of ART SAVES LIVES. I didn’t paint nor write anything new specifically for this project which reflects that I too share and have been involved in wanting to bring light to ART SAVES LIVES mission.

Blossom - by Nell-Lynn Perera acrylic, chinese ink
Blossom – by Nell-Lynn Perera
acrylic, chinese ink

 

Do you feel women have to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously? Do you have any experiences of this?

Yes, women mostly have to. We mostly have to live up to how we should dress in accordance to the different stereotypes of what is out there. Even our behaviours are judged.

As a model with tattoos who listens to Trance music (even when I paint), I’m aware that people who think they know me, have perceived me wrongly. They join the dots because of years of conditioned stereotyping and they fail miserably at their perception of who I really am.

 

Do you think that women and men are equal in today’s societies around the world? Have you any experience of this?

No, we are not equals in most societies. The fact that the word feminism is still being used reflects this clearly; we are not equals. We do not have to go far to realise this. Just look at how a couple differentiate their ‘duties’ at home.

When women are assertive, they’re seen as less feminine.

When women show anger, they’re seen as less feminine.

When women don’t wear makeup, they’re seen as less feminine.

I speak from experience about all the above.

 

by - Nell-Lynn Perera
by – Nell-Lynn Perera

 

What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for etc…..?

The abolishment of the Death Penalty and all forms of torture, homelessness, the closure of Guantanamo Bay, human rights and prisoners on death row.

 

What does the statement ART SAVES LIVES mean to you and has art in anyway “saved” your life in any way?

I simply can’t imagine a world without art, music and nature.

People don’t take art or artists seriously as they are millions of us and art is all around their surroundings. But imagine a world where there is no art. The world appears a lot less alive. Architecture though is a form of art, remains cold, concrete and lacking of emotion.

Art has saved my life. It has given me a means to express myself quietly without the need for words. My inner world is reflected in my art. I am able to catapult myself to a better place where stillness is alive rather than chaos. I believe the buyers of my art feel the same way.

 

by - Nell-Lynn Perera
by – Nell-Lynn Perera

 

How can your art be used to create change and is this something you want for your art?

Street art and graffiti for instance have a huge voice because it is out there. Their impact to create change and a different way of looking at things, is massive.  For this reason, street artist, Bansky is someone I regard highly. He does not seek fame or riches. His main objective is to wake people up from the daily conditioning that people have been misled into believing is the truth through main stream media.

My art hasn’t reached that volume of audience yet in order for me to achieve change. But yes, there is a message if you look closely.

 

What are your goals as with your art?

My goals are simple. I would like to be able to live off sales of my paintings in order for me to continue painting. In order for me to be able to achieve this, I need a wider audience who not only appreciate my paintings but who would purchase them.

Fame is not something I seek. The gift of knowing I could paint came late to me. I only want to honour this gift by sharing it with others and to be in a position where I can live a decent confortable life by staying true to this gift.

 

 

What is your next project or piece that you are working on?

My second book “The Rugged Sea” which I have completed writing but which I need to source for funding in order to see it published. Trying to secure a second solo show in a reputable gallery which isn’t easy as most reputable galleries here are only interested at featuring work of famous artists.

 

And is there anything you would like to add to your interview?

Each and everyone of us has the gift of being able to paint.

 

Nell-Lynn Perera

 

If you would like to know more about Nell-Lynn Perera follow these links:

Website

Blog

Shop

Insights of Nin Facebook Page

Voices of Nin Facebook Page

Facebook Profile

YouTube

 

 

Writer Cath Bore “In my writing I create female characters who meet the world on their own terms”

Writer Cath Bore “In my writing I create female characters who meet the world on their own terms”.

 

Cath Bore
Cath Bore

 

Cath Bore, Liverpool, UK, started as a music writer in her early 20’s then went on to write creatively. Cath has an MA in Creative Writing, and lots of her flash fiction and feminist essays / creative non fiction is published in the UK and the US.

What motivated you to deal with the subject of domestic violence in your art?

Domestic violence is a cause very close to my heart. I find it odd domestic violence victims and survivors are put in boxes labelled “it was their own fault”. The more we talk about DV in its different guises, the better.

 

Tell us why you chose this submission?

I wrote FRIDAY ROSES after I saw a Facebook meme about a woman who received flowers every birthday from her husband even though he died – he’s set up an on going order every year until she herself passed away. Many people thought it a romantic gesture; I looked at it from a different angle, what if he was abusive? What is really she wanted free of him? What if he was controlling her from the grave? What if the flowers every year were another way of belittling her, so she is never free? I think as writers and artists it is our duty to question everything.


 

FRIDAY ROSES

The red roses Brian sends on Fridays are delivered to the house, bound in a tight bundle. The taut rubber band pinks my fingers and thorny stems long and tentacular splice my skin as I unpick the stubborn brown rubber. My fingers cut and bleed but push the flowers into a vase.

‘Have they arrived, the flowers?’ Brian rings up and asks, as always.

‘Yes, they’ve arrived. Thank you.’

‘And do you like them?’ He says this each time too.

‘I love them.’

He makes me say it every week, forces me to lie. Sometimes I think I hate the roses more than I despise Brian. They offer up no scent, shiny plastic petals scratch the end of my nose as he forces me to sniff them and inhale plain air that smells of tap water.

Flowers every week, how romantic, everyone says.  You’re so lucky.

‘Yes,’ I smile. ‘I’m lucky.’

My cracked ribs creak as I force uncomfortable words out from lips stiff and awkward with lies.

In the end, all it takes is a little push. I watch Brian fall down the stairs, arms in frantic circles, hands grabbing air, gob flapping silently. He breaks. I taste copper in my mouth and smell its perfume, realise I’ve bitten my tongue and hold it between my teeth as I watched him windmill downwards. Relief washes through me like a flood but the police believe my tears.

The following Friday roses arrive as usual, red like blood.


Why have you chosen the medium you use for your art?

I love writing and I always have, ever since  I was a little girl.

What is your process when creating?

I write, leave it for a while then redraft, redraft, redraft. I always leave work for at least a week after that and give it another polish before I submit it anywhere.

Who are you influenced by? What inspired you and your art?

I love good writing, my favourite author is Marian Keyes, although we write in different genres. Her dialogue sparkles, every word a diamond. I carry a notebook around with me at all times and scribble words and phrases down, making note of what intrigues me. I use them for inspiration; I am never short of something to write about. At the moment I am getting lots of ideas from songs and song lyrics.

What does feminism mean to you and do you consider yourself to be a feminist?

Feminism is true equality of the genders. Men and women are different but not the same and I believe we should celebrate our differences, and include men and self-defining women in those celebrations. Get everyone on board!

What made you want to get involved with our non-profit ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL mission?

I love the message you’re putting out, using art of all kinds to educate, engage and express. It is something creatives do naturally, it’s great we get to do it en masse like this.

Do you feel women have to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously? Do you have any experiences of this?

Of course we do. We have to look a certain way, not be too loud or be funny – funny women scare people. I’m still trying to work that one out.

Do you think that women and men are equal in today’s societies around the world? Have you any experience of this?

Until women and men share things like childcare and housework equally in the home, equality is still a long way off. It’s great that men now do so much more than their fathers did, and they’ve done it without anyone telling them to – worked out themselves that spending time with their children and so forth makes for a happier family life. A 50/50 housework split in most households is still a long way off, though.

I’m disturbed by the new trend to put down men, as if they are imbeciles and can’t cope with domestic tasks on their own. I did a reading away from home recently so had to stay overnight; someone seriously asked me “how will your husband cope?”. I replied, “he is not a child”. We need to give good men more credit.


What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for etc…..?

Domestic violence, women’s Refuges.

What does the statement ART SAVES LIVES mean to you and has art in anyway “saved” your life in any way?

If I didn’t write I’d go bonkers. End of.

How can your art be used to create change and is this something you want for your art?

In my writing I create female characters who meet the world on their own terms. I believe that creativity can be used as an amazing and effective tool to promote empowerment.

What are your goals as with your art?

I’d like even more people to read my work and to have my novel published and for it to be successful and critically acclaimed.

What is your next project or piece that you are working on?

I am working on a crime novel which I’m madly in love with, and lots of flash fiction. I’m increasingly writing feminist creative non-fiction, which I enjoy so much.

And is there anything you would like to add to your interview?

I’d like to thank you for publishing my short story and for all the fabulous work you do. You’re ace.

If you would like to know more about Cath Bore follow these links or email:

Website  

Twitter

email cathbore@gmail.com

 

asli quote

 

 

Poet Laura Taylor “If I can use my own hard times to make art, and share that widely, then that multiplies the cohesion, makes us all stronger”

Poet Laura Taylor “If I can use my own hard times to make art, and share that widely, then that multiplies the cohesion, makes us all stronger”.

 

Laura Taylor
Laura Taylor

 

Laura Taylor, 47, St Helens, Merseyside, UK.

Laura is from a village called Rainhill, which is located in between St Helens and Liverpool. Having been born into a working-class family Laura has retained the values of that upbringing. Material gain is not a high priority – happiness, harmony, love and equality are.  Laura identifies herself as a Socialist, a feminist, and says she has challenged arbitrary forms of authority all her life.  

I do not believe in hierarchies. I have no ‘art background’ as such, I’ve never studied creative writing.  I just started writing poetry in 2010 for the first time.

What motivated you to deal with the subject of writing for revolution/unsolicited advice in your art?

Write for Revolution’ was about seeing a female poet perform, and being so emotionally overwhelmed by her words that I went away from that experience thinking that I had things to say, too.

The poem starts with dancing alone, and ends with ‘and now there’s more of us’, writing our lives for whoever is reading/listening, and connecting with them.  When I get up on a stage to share my experiences in the form of poetry, I know from experience that there will be other women who will identify with it, and they will feel less isolated as a result.   

‘Unsolicited’ is based on all the unwanted and unasked-for ‘advice’ that I’ve received over the years on what it is to be a woman – or rather, a ‘lady’.  It basically amounts to a list of things you can and cannot do – mainly the latter. Everything in that poem is based on true events in my life.  I have spent long periods as a single parent, and know what it is to be demonised by the media and the government.

I am acutely aware that as women age, opportunities close down. In my life, there are jobs I’ve not been allowed to do, behaviour that I have been strongly discouraged from; I’ve felt the weight of societal disapproval for just being me and it’s suffocating.

Tell us why you chose this submission?

I have performed both poems many times, and without fail, I have had women laughing, nodding their heads in recognition, and thanking me for articulating their own experiences.  If I can use my own hard times to make art, and share that widely, then that multiplies the cohesion, makes us all stronger.


 

Write for Revolution  

We danced alone on wooden floors.

Volunteers making noise.

In later days, I heard that you had

swallowed lumps for breakfast.

 

I sat in darkness, closing throat.

Felt my own lumps swimming up.

Listening and wondering

of spun-out olive branches.

 

I went away and thought about

all the sorrow, all the fear,

all the tears we’d shed so far

and wondered,

could I help?

 

Could I stand up to make a change?

To help one woman in the world

feel less alone, less isolated.

Could I?

Well…

 

I tried.

I wrote.

I told about

 

little girls

and bruises,

loneliness and solitude,

rapture and revulsion,

teenage isolation.

Violence, injustice;

politricks, hypocrisy.

Endless fights

for equal rights;

kissing girls and

loving christ.

 

And now there’s more of us.

Northern girls with tales to tell.

We reap and sow the seeds of change

and write our lives for you.

 

We write

for revolution.


Unsolicited (1968 – 2015)

 

You’re Not Allowed

 

to cry,

in here,

this room, this bar,

a pint, on deck,

to fight or sulk,

or answer back,

to join the local snooker team,

to bare your legs

or armpit hair,

express yourself

or sleep around,

to shout or swear,

to wear short skirts,

to wear short hair

 

Grow it, tie it, perm it, dye it, never cut it short

 

to be the boss,

come more than once,

to suit yourself,

to wank, to sweat,

to smell, or fart,

to bleed,

release a stream of pee

outside of

chambered secrecy,

be clever, proud,

sarcastic, loud,

tell dirty jokes or pick your nose

 

That’s not very ladylike

 

to flirt, to age,

to speak your mind,

to even show your knicker line,

bring up a child

all on your own,

expose your breasts,

express your milk

so publicly,

to smoke, get drunk,

get up the duff

without a band of gold.

 

Single mothers are to blame for all the world’s depravity

 

UNSOLICITED!

 


Why have you chosen the medium you use for your art?

Purely by accident. As mentioned, it was the experience of another woman’s poetry that spurred me to write my own.  I’d never really read any before, and thought I didn’t like it. Thought it was elitist, and ‘not for the likes of me’. It’s hugely addictive though! And I’ve discovered that it’s the perfect art form for me.

What is your process when creating?

I’ll start with a word, a phrase, a memory or a feeling that sparks in my mind. Sometimes that can be just out of the blue, sometimes I’ll deliberately set out to write about something that I feel strongly about, or wish to express.  I will then just sit and type out as many associations with that as possible.  Just let it flow, don’t even think about shaping it. It’s important to squeeze every last drop of what you think, how you think, how you feel, and how you can possibly express that.

Sometimes I’ll do a little research about ideas or words in the poem, which can then sometimes completely change the course of it!  Then I read through the notes and associations, mull it all over, leave for a few days.  Then and only then do I start to structure the poem.  The title is almost always the last thing to be written.  

I will work on the poem a little bit each day, working towards that sweet moment when it just ‘feels right’. When I get a feeling inside that this is the most perfect way to express how I feel.

I can spend ridiculous amounts of time worrying about punctuation too! Because it matters. Every single thing in there – each word, line break, spelling, grammar, punctuation, flow – everything counts in a poem. It’s a condensed piece of writing, a means of communication, so it all matters.  I will spend a lot of time editing, and be quite severe with myself. Then I show my poems to my partner, who is a wonderfully supportive constructive critic and will, without fail, pick up on any tiny thing that I think may need changing.

This is the usual process. Every now and again though, a rare delight will happen and a poem will plop onto the page almost perfectly formed!

Who are you influenced by? What inspired you and your art?

I can honestly say that I have not been influenced by any poet or poem, as such. I don’t write like anyone else or attempt to emulate styles. I didn’t read poetry, didn’t think I would like it, thought it was not for me. As for inspiration – that initial time seeing the female poet perform. That’s what kicked all this off.

What does feminism mean to you and do you consider yourself to be a feminist?

Feminism is really quite simple – it is just about being fair, and everyone being treated equally, regardless of sex or gender. There are lots of strands of feminism, with differing ideas about the roots of female oppression and various resolutions to that, but ultimately it’s about fairness and equality. Yes indeed, I do consider myself a feminist. I am not a separatist, I simply want to be treated as an equal. Whilst I recognise that men too are manipulated and shaped by our culture, still to this day women are not treated equally, and so I will continue calling myself a feminist until we are.  It would be lovely not to have to, not to have the same arguments, the same struggles, over and over and over again, but the plain truth is that we do.

What made you want to get involved with our non-profit ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL mission?

I was intrigued by the theme of your call-out for art in celebration of women, and identify strongly with the emphasis on giving voice to the silenced.

Do you feel women have to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously? Do you have any experiences of this?

I don’t think women can win either way to be honest! You can conform, you may gain approval, but will that mean you are taken seriously? No, not in my experience.  It just allows for more opportunities for continued oppression. Conform and you will be treated as the type of person society thinks you should be, ie, passive, submissive, and second-class; more concerned with minutiae than the state of the world. Rebel and you’ll be a ‘troublemaker’, or worse. All you can ever do is keep yourself strong inside and out, and stay true to yourself and your beliefs. Educate yourself, keep your own counsel, and connect with others. Strive for equality.

Do you think that women and men are equal in today’s societies around the world? Have you any experience of this?

No. 

Yes, I realised very early on that men and women were absolutely not treated equally. I was constantly reminded that my behaviour and clothing were ‘unladylike’, that there were a whole raft of petty rules that only applied to me and not the boys around me.  

When I was growing up, I was told in no uncertain terms that I should not try to get the job I wanted, as a long-distance lorry driver, because I would be ostracised and given a hard time by the male truckers. I wanted to join the Royal Navy to travel the world like my Dad had done, but was told that women were not allowed on board ships – I could have a ‘nice office job’ in Germany if I wanted to travel. Constantly asked who I was going to marry when I grew up – not ‘was I interested in the idea of marriage’, just presented with that assumption, aged 5!  I was not allowed to join the local pool team because I was female, despite being as good as the other players. I was refused drinks served in a pint glass and given two half glasses instead. I have been asked if I was pregnant in job interviews and whether I planned to get married.  

I have been physically intimidated in working situations, disregarded in others in favour of a male colleague, and inappropriate and offensive suggestions made to me by male colleagues and bosses. I have been inappropriately touched on countless occasions – this is still considered ‘normal’ behaviour by many in our society.  

I have been told how to dress, what to wear, how to wear my hair, what to put on my face, how to sit, walk, speak, and what to say/not to say.  I am often referred to as ‘feisty’ – a term only applied to women with strong beliefs, never men.

There are lots of (derogatory) words for women that have no male equivalent.  I see double standards and inequality etched into the very core of our society.

I continue to experience casual sexism on a depressingly regular basis, with the odd high-impact encounter.  And that’s the tip of the iceberg, in the Western world only.  I am painfully aware that for women in other parts of the world, life is so very much more unequal, difficult,  oppressive, and in many cases physically dangerous and life-threatening.  

What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for etc…..?

Domestic violence, Socialism, political apathy, social inequality.  I have recently joined the Green Party, as their policies are people-centred, striving for equality.  I’m committed to standing as a candidate for them in the upcoming local elections.

What does the statement ART SAVES LIVES mean to you and has art in anyway “saved” your life in any way?

It means connecting – people, thoughts, ideas. It means strength in unity. Art can do this and you don’t even have to be in the same room, never mind the same country. Once it is documented in some way it can then be shared.  As a deeply unhappy teenager, I found solace in the words and music of Janis Joplin. It felt like she was singing directly to me, for me, and expressing how I felt. In the pits of depression, I felt that I was not alone. And that’s a really common experience, in all art forms. That moment when the light-bulb flashes and we think “Oh! It’s not just me!”.  Humans are sociable beings – even when we’re introverted, we still thrive on a certain amount of contact, of identification with others. Art is a way of doing that.  

Music is invaluable in the care of people diagnosed with dementia. Research shows that the experience of listening to music stimulates all areas of the brain simultaneously. People who no longer communicate will smile, stand up, waltz around the room, loving the music, remembering words and melodies. It’s quite astonishing the impact this art form has on people’s lives.  

How can your art be used to create change and is this something you want for your art?

I perform my poems regularly, at various venues and locations, and I’ve been widely published – see my earlier comment about documenting art, so that it can be accessed by all. I write about a number of issues, and know from the reception of my performances that my words have touched people, made them think, feel, cry, laugh, get angry.  They have CONNECTED with them. I also know that I have inspired other people to start writing, or start writing AGAIN after a long break, raising their own issues, and sharing them with others to identify with.  Art creates unity, solidarity.  One of my poems about the effects of Thatcherism on our household was published in a magazine, the proceeds of which go to the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, which is working to get justice for miners who were the victims of police brutality, lies, and cover ups at Orgreave in 1984.  

Do I want art (mine or others’) to create change? Yes, absolutely I do.  It’s one of the best forms of awareness-raising that I know of – it creates change via this process. I believe the arts to be as essential to our understanding of the world as the history books, politics, and the media. Let BOTH sides speak, not just the side with power.

What are your goals as with your art?

To keep writing, keep performing, keep reaching out. To keep enjoying what I do, and to give pleasure and comfort to others. Simple as that.  It would be nice to scratch a living from it, but extremely unlikely!

What is your next project or piece that you are working on?

I’m in touch with a publisher who is interested in publishing a collection of my poems next year, which is very exciting. I’m also working on publishing a book of ekphrastic poems with some friends.  One of them is a talented photographer, and 3 of us poets have been so inspired by his images we have been writing poems based on them. We’re hoping to bring out a quality ‘coffee table’ book of the poems and images, as well as an exhibition of them. We’re all from working-class communities – poetry wasn’t ‘for the likes of us’.  Except that it is, and more people like us need to know that.  

And is there anything you would like to add to your interview?

I believe that engaging with the creative outlet/s of your choice brings a wealth of benefits – mental stimulation and stability, pure joy in the incomparable experience of the creative process, the connection to other human beings.   

Art doesn’t ‘just’ save the lives of others, it can save your own too. The often-cathartic processes involved make it your very own personal therapy, and one which I wish everyone would try at least once.  

Bang a drum, pluck a string, sing a song, have a dance, write a verse, paint a picture, and enjoy.  And when you find something you love doing, that stokes your soul and makes you smile, just keep doing it.

 

If you would like to know more about Laura Taylor follow these links:

Profile

Facebook Page 

 

 

Meagan Flynn talks about her short film “High Bid” which addresses the issue of on-line virginity auctions

Meagan Flynn talks about her short film “High Bid” which addresses the issue of on-line virginity auctions.

 

Meagan Flynn
Meagan Flynn

 

Meagan Flynn, currently lives in the Kansas City area and grew up on a cattle ranch in south western Montana

It was an amazing way to grow up! Tons of family and the most beautiful part of the country.

Meagan has been doing theatre since she was a child.

I always wanted to be and actor and to work in film. After college I headed to Los Angeles to make that a reality.

What motivated you to deal with the subject of on-line virginity auctions in your art?

High Bid was actually inspired by a two true stories I’d heard. The first story I saw featured on Oprah of a young boy who was selling photos, videos and eventually himself through his home computer from his suburban bedroom. The second was the story of a young woman in Brazil who was actually selling her virginity on-line to the highest bidder. I believe it went for several hundred thousand dollars.

 

 

Tell us why you chose this submission?

I think this film is important because it’s something that is happening. The Internet is not a new world, but it is an infinite world that can be used for more things than I can even wrap my mind around. I also think the important thing about this film is that you don’t quite know how to feel about the story-are you outraged? Do you empathize with her? Are you upset with the mother? Are you upset with the daughter? What do you feel? I’m hoping it’s a piece that starts a conversation.

Why have you chosen the medium you use for your art?

I’m an actor and film-maker to the core. The visual medium of film has always been the art form that moved me the most and it’s where I feel that I can generate the most emotion from an audience. I still get my breath taken away all the time by films.

What is your process when creating?

I always say that I’m an idea person and then I have to find the talented people who can actually make it a reality. Honestly, I usually am struck by something in real life that gives me a spark of an idea and then I reach out to people more talented than myself to help me formulate and bring it to the screen.

Who are you influenced by? What inspired you and your art?

I’m influenced by so many things. My family, my friends, my children, a person I have a casual interaction with one day. I think part of being a good film-maker and actor is being an observer of the world and the people in it. I can get inspired by the craziest things, so it’s more me making sure that I take the time to slow down and see what’s going on in the world in front of me.

What does feminism mean to you and do you consider yourself to be a feminist?

Boy that’s become such a loaded word lately hasn’t it? If you say yes you are then you are pushing one agenda and if you say no I’m not then you are pushing another. I am a woman who believes in equal rights and opportunities for all people regardless of what categories they fit in, so whatever that makes me by definition I am.

What made you want to get involved with our non-profit ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL mission?

I think because it’s true-art does save lives. I don’t know who or what I would be without art and artistic ways to express what’s inside me. I think there are so many people out there in the world who feel that way.

Do you feel women have to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously?Do you have any experiences of this?

Yes, I think that in 2015 there are expectations and limitations that are placed on women because of gender. I think that unfortunately in film women are highly under-represented, particularly behind the camera. I think we do have to work harder to be taken seriously and that we get fewer chances to make mistakes.

Do you think that women and men are equal in today’s societies around the world? Have you any experience of this?

I think it would be ignorant and arrogant for me to speak with expertise of any society in the world besides my own. That being said I think we are all aware that there are many societies  in this world where women are second class citizens. As far as America goes it depends on what you mean by equal. There is a pay gap still in this country between men and women. Do I think, however, that I have an equal shot at things like education compared to a man-yes? But does that mean all women in this country do, not necessarily.

What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for etc…..?  

How much space do you have on your blog? There are so many things I am passionate about and love to work for! I am passionate about many causes including ending human trafficking, making sure that all children have access to food, decent living conditions and education, helping to advance equal rights for all people, helping mentor young people so that they can explore every opportunity they dream of, and keeping arts and music in our schools just to name a few.

What does the statement ART SAVES LIVES mean to you and has art in anyway “saved” your life in any way?

Art helps me cope, it helps me express and it keeps me sane. For me it is life-saving. I can’t imagine where I would be or how I would have gotten through dark times without having ways to express what’s inside of me.

How can your art be used to create change and is this something you want for your art?

I want my art to get people talking. I don’t care if people love it or hate it if my films get them talking, Google-ing, or researching a topic then I have done my job. I tell women’s stories so even if it’s a silly comedy that just makes people laugh, but they have watched and supported a female driven film I feel I’m doing something positive.

What are your goals as with your art?

To keep making it and to have the means to keep making it and to get better each time. I only hope each day that I can continue to act and create films for the rest of my life.

What is your next project or piece that you are working on?

I’m extremely excited for my next project which is filming on April 4th. It’s a dramatic short film called Tipping Point that deals with the issue of sex trafficking in our American cities. It’s calling attention to the issue and the fact that it’s happening where you least expect it. We have received a couple grants and are actually still accepting donations at our IndieGoGo campaign. We are so excited to tell this story and hope we get a great response to the final film.

 

 

And is there anything you would like to add to your interview?

I’d really just like to thank you for featuring me and High Bid. I’m truly honoured! I love what you are doing and I am excited to be a part of it!

 

 

If you would like to know more about Meagan Flynn follow her links:

Website

IMDB

Smart Mouth Productions FB page

Twitter

Vimeo

ASLI Exhibition at The Art House – Event Photos

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

THE EVENT – IN PICTURES

PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHARLOTTE FARHAN

 

The Art House - Southampton - THE VENUE
The Art House – Southampton – THE VENUE

 

 

Mural and story board of the project - created by Lisa Reeve and Charlotte Farhan
Mural and story board of the project – created by Lisa Reeve and Charlotte Farhan

 

 

 

Art Saves Lives International - Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition
Art Saves Lives International – Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition – Art By Charlotte Farhan

 

 

 

The creative zone - Art Saves Lives International - Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition
The creative zone – Art Saves Lives International – Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition

 

 

The Art House - Southampton - http://thearthousesouthampton.org/
The Art House – Southampton – http://thearthousesouthampton.org/

 

Photography

By Anna Bispham

The ASLI Photo Booth

 

Mohammed - Art Saves Lives International - Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition
Mohammed – Art Saves Lives International – Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition

 

Lesley and John -  Art Saves Lives International - Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition
Lesley and John – Art Saves Lives International – Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition

 

Bex -  Art Saves Lives International - Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition
Bex – Art Saves Lives International – Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition

 

Matthew and Ann -  Art Saves Lives International - Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition
Matthew and Ann – Art Saves Lives International – Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition

 

 

Becky -  Art Saves Lives International - Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition
Becky – Art Saves Lives International – Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition

 

Lisa -  Art Saves Lives International - Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition
Lisa – Art Saves Lives International – Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition

 

Charlotte - Art Saves Lives International - Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition
Charlotte – Art Saves Lives International – Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition

 

 

Thank you for looking please follow this link 

to view the exhibition by the children of Bursledon House

 

PLEASE DONATE 

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED

YOUR SUPPORT IS IMPORTANT

THANK YOU FROM EVERYONE AT ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL
THANK YOU FROM EVERYONE AT ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL

 

 

ASLI ART PROJECT IN COLLABORATION WITH BURSLEDON HOUSE

Art Saves Lives International is excited to announce its first collaboration and art project with the young residents and staff at Bursledon House Hospital in Southampton, UK. The project was inspired by ASLI’s Charlotte Farhan. She is now leading the project, helped by our talented Artist in Residence, Lisa Reeve.

Bursledon House provides a lifeline to young kids and teenagers with severe, complex and chronic medical problems. Using a caringly structured programme of treatment in a relaxed, non-medical setting, Bursledom House supports, cares for and manages the treatment of its vulnerable young residents (aged 0-16). The NHS-run organisation places paramount importance on residents’ physical, psychological, educational and social needs.

ASLI has been invited by Bursledon House to perform an inclusive and inspirational art project with its young residents. ASLI Artistic Director Charlotte Farhan and ASLI Artist in Residence Lisa Reeve were inspired to perform this project due to their own personal struggles with mental illness. They believe art has played a restorative, vitally important role in helping them manage Borderline Personality Disorder.

For Charlotte, this project is especially close to her heart. At the tender age of fifteen, Charlotte was placed in an adolescent psychiatric unit and attended a residential school in an NHS governed centre similar to Bursledon House. She remembers how scary this chaotic period of her life was for her, and how school was the last thing on her mind.

But institutions like Bursledon House are essential in providing structure and routine for sick and vulnerable young children and adolescents during a difficult, traumatic time of great need. Charlotte found being able to still attend art, English and History classes a real release from her daily treatment. She relished the opportunity to learn these subjects, which provided relief and inspiration, instead of purely focussing on continuously feeling unwell.

This ASLI project promotes holistic creative healing through art therapy. Each child is being encouraged and motivated to produce their very own ‘Personality Portrait’: an abstract style of portrait that reflects the inner core of a person: their energy, vitality and individuality, which forms their root personality, based on experience, fears and desires. Celebrating individuality is especially important for children who have perhaps already identified themselves as “sick children”. Art therapy takes children outside of their comfort zones and transient realities, helping them shape the futures they want.

As a skilled SFX make-up artist and photographer, Lisa is also relishing painting the children’s faces for drama, poetry and dance performances, as the photographs below beautifully illustrate.

The project, lasting several months, is leading to a public exhibition of the children’s personality portraits in July 2014. Charlotte also intends to create a large mural painting at the hospital and Lisa will create a storyboard of photography documenting the entire experience. The exhibition will include talks about the work of Bursledon House and ASLI. We also hope to have a band, spoken word artists and an art auction.

asli project 7 10298806_10152397828495549_5116878588849475002_n ASLI PROJECT 1 asli project 5 asli project 3 asli project 6 asli project 4  10325320_10152397806175549_4852748682474543581_n

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BURSLEDON BLOG: PART ONE

As ASLI artists Charlotte and Lisa arrived at Bursledon House, both were nervous and eager to make a good impression. They first met with one of the teachers, Holly. Her warmth, empathy and enthusiasm instantly made our artists feel at home and welcomed to the Bursledon family.

After meeting most of the staff, including teachers and nurses, the young residents trickled into the classroom to greet Lisa and Charlotte. They played an introduction circle game involving a ball. Charlotte and Lisa, who both share Borderline Personality Disorder, frequently struggle with social situations like this. But in Bursledon’s supportive environment and inspired by the bravery of the young people they met, Charlotte and Lisa were able to quickly overcome these fears and felt very privileged and grateful for the opportunity to be there.

Next, they visited the hemodialysis ward and met an inspirational young girl who was a keen artist herself. Charlotte and Lisa sat with her for a while and discussed her interests. The girl was delighted to hear about Charlotte and Lisa’s reason for being there and how she had an opportunity to create her own portrait. When they mentioned her work would be included in a gallery exhibition, the young girl’s elation was overwhelmingly moving.

As the visit drew to a close, Charlotte and Lisa were sad to leave, but excited to get the next stage of the project underway.

 

BLOG: PART TWO – THE PROJECT BEGINS!

During Charlotte and Lisa’s subsequent visit to Bursledon House, they explained the concept of a personality portrait, providing examples. Artists have always been fascinated by the concept of creating self-portraits as a means of better understanding themselves – the fusion of the outer and inner self. Our artists stressed to the children that there is no right or wrong when it comes to art. Art is THEIR opportunity for self-expression. Charlotte had also pre-compiled a list of thought-provoking questions to encourage the children to focus on their individuality and inspire them creatively with their own personality portraits:

1. List your 4 favourite colours and any colours you dislike. Ask yourself why you picked these colours?

2. Consider your best and your worst features – and why?

3. How would you describe yourself in two sentences?

4. Who are your idols and what do you admire about them?

5. What is your favourite style? What do you like in design, fashion, décor and graphics, what visually stimulates you?

6. Pick 3 (of each) representing you: animals, places in the world, food and books.

7. What are your passions and hobbies in life?

8. What are your fears and dreams?

9. When was your best day and worst day, what happened?

10. How do you think others see you, and how is it different to how you see yourself?

 

“In self-portraiture the artist does not have to be concerned about pleasing anyone but him or herself. Self-portraits can allow the artist to be open and receptive to the self, which is an important component of therapeutic growth.”

–Professor Simone Alter-Muri

By now, the children were utterly engaged and very eager to get started. Creativity flowed out of them and their ideas were incredibly powerful.

Finlay (6), the youngest in the group, was movingly frank. When asked why he had drawn a face with tears, he simply answered, “It is because I am very sensitive.” This kind of honesty was refreshing and insightful.

Charlotte sat with a young girl called Bethany (11). Wise beyond her years, Bethany displayed a determination that could take her wherever she wishes to go in the future. She told Charlotte, “I want to draw a light bulb above my head, because I love to think and question things. I love science, I also love art and thunderstorms.”

It’s important when doing this kind of exercise to analyse why we represent ourselves the way we do. Charlotte encouraged these ideas and spoke to Bethany about why she enjoyed these things.

Lisa spoke to a boy called Travis (13). She helped him to identify his own emotions related to the answers he gave on his personality portrait questionnaire. This helped him to generate fresh ideas and use them for artistic inspiration.

The children were also encouraged to produce a piece of creative writing to accompany their portraits during the exhibition. It’s while doing this that they can truly unravel and explore the emotions that form their individual core identities – the human beings behind the masks.

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Lisa Reeve is one of ASLI’s first artists in residence. ASLI’s Bursledon House collaboration was her first art residency project and she handled it admirably. This is what Lisa had to say on her experience:

“I am so proud to be working with ASLI. Not only is it a wonderful way to support and inspire a diverse variety of people and children to be creative, art can also help with emotional healing. I myself struggle with social anxiety, among many mental health problems, and using art as a form of self-expression is very therapeutic for me. Art can allow oneself to express turbulent inner emotions that can often be hard, or impossible, to explain in humble words. The children at Bursledon House are such strong, brave, amazing individuals and we are so lucky to have the chance to work with them on creating their own personality portraits. The staff and pupils have welcomed us with open arms and it is inspiring to see how a hospital school operates. The staff at Bursledon House are particularly lovely, caring and open-minded. Helping others is always good therapy for the soul: ‘If you light a lamp for somebody it will also brighten your path.’ (Buddhist quote!) Thank you to ASLI for giving me the opportunity to give opportunities to others.”