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!

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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

 

 

 

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

Join our Facebook Group

and

Share your Creativity and Art with us!

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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/

 

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

 

Slavka Jovanović “my art creates change by connecting people with their own difficult thoughts and experiences”

Slavka Jovanović “my art creates change by connecting people with their own difficult thoughts and experiences”.

Slavka Jovanović
Slavka Jovanović

 

Slavka Jovanović, 50, London. Born in Shipley, West Yorkshire, to Serbian parents,  art has always featured strongly in Slavka’s life in a variety of ways with the support from her incredibly creative family. With her father a poet in his spare time who she remembers would sit at his typewriter tapping away into the night. A mother who was a craftswoman who was always working on a new project – whether it was dress-designing, embroidery, cake decorating. Slavka and her two siblings inherited a talent for art, however as children of immigrants it was not seen as a serious life choice so were all discouraged from pursuing their dreams as artists and designers. After training to be a teacher (at her parent’s request), Slavka ran away to London to join the theatre and has been working in theatre and arts education for much of her life, her career as a visual artist took off about 12 years ago.

What motivated you to deal with the subject of women’s issues and identity in your art?

I see that there is a tremendous pressure for people to conform to society’s norm, whether male or female. As a woman, I have observed this on many occasions.

Tell us why you chose this submission?

“Falling Apart And Keeping It Together At The Same Time” is a 1 minute stop-frame animation which succinctly demonstrates the monotony of being a house wife and the desperate need to keep up appearances as her world falls apart. On first viewing it’s a humorous piece but the more you watch it the more poignant it is.  I chose this film because I am fascinated by the compulsion many of us have to hide our feelings, to tell everyone that we are “fine”, when, in fact, our world might be falling apart.  We are terrified of letting the outside world glimpse any aspect of our interior selves. This film  has moved people who have watched it in the past and opened up discussion around themes of isolation, well-being and expectations.

 

 

“Her Story” is a 5-minute stop-frame animation telling the story of a young girl who has trouble sleeping and has to get to the root of the problem.  On the surface it’s a simple story and it’s narrated in a story-book style, however there are powerful themes within the tale that have resonated strongly with people.  On the surface themes of insomnia and hyper-sensitivity, moving to isolation/loneliness, and even more deeply to depression and schizophrenia.  I like this film for the very reason that it has the power to connect with the viewer in different ways and is entertaining as well as thought-provoking.

 

 

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

I have chosen the medium of filmed animation for these two pieces of art because it helps to portray the message in a clear and effective way.

What is your process when creating?

My process involves collect thoughts, experiences and feelings from a number of sources over many many months.  I tend to work on several projects at one time, exploring themes connected to each project in different ways/media.  For example, “Falling apart and Keeping it together at the same time” is a theme that I had explored through collage and through sculpture in the 3 years leading up to making the animation film.  I keep returning to the theme of façades and keeping up appearances/wearing masks/adopting persona’s/containing oneself.

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

I love the work of Louise Bourgeois, Annette Messager, Tracy Emin, Hannah Hoch and Frida Kahlo.  I also like the animation work of Lotte Reiniger and Jan Svankmajer.  I like live animation presented by Nic Rawling from The Paper Cinema, and Matthew Robbins.

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

Feminism is about choice.  As a woman it is the right to choose one’s own way in life and being respected by those around you for that choice.  It is also about education and awareness.  It’s about you, as a woman, having the knowledge and learning from which to be able to make choices. It’s also about choices being made available to you.

By Slavka Jovanović
By Slavka Jovanović

 

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

Art is a powerful medium and a perfect way to put across a message or express deep emotions.  I admire the ethos of Art Saves Lives International in supporting the artists voice and sharing important work.

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 it’s a tough world all round – whether you’re a man, woman or child.  I feel that society places extraordinary demands on the individual to conform to the norm.  I also think that the so-called norm is becoming more extreme, whether it’s in politics, religion or advertising.  We are all being controlled and told what to think, what to wear, how to look, how to behave. Social media and the media at large don’t help the situation as both are tools that are used to indoctrinate us, formally or informally.

Personally, I haven’t been overtly affected and am able to live my life in the way that I wish, making the choices that I want to make but I am very aware that many women do have a much harder time than me.

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

No women and men are not equal in today’s societies around the world. There are inequalities in every country – of pay, of opportunities, of status (both within relationships and at work)

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

I am passionate about disability issues, especially around autism.  Much of my time is spent campaigning about this and making positive creative opportunities for people on the autistic spectrum.

I am also passionate about mental health and well-being.  I campaign against stigma relating to mental health.

Finally I campaign for equality, especially around opportunities for women.

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 that art is a lifeline.  It can connect you to others who have similar experiences, it can give a strong message easily, it can allow you to express your self (either as an artist or as a viewer).  Art allows me to explore difficult thoughts and feelings.

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

My art creates change by connecting people with their own difficult thoughts and experiences.  It also puts women at the centre of the narrative and gives them a voice.  I didn’t set out overtly to create change on an international level but I do know that my work has affected people on a very personal level and has opened up channels of discussion.

By Slavka Jovanović
By Slavka Jovanović

 

What are your goals as with your art?

My goal is to share stories that will resonate with others and make them feel less lonely and isolated.

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

I am continuing to explore women’s roles (through collage and paint) by creating religious icons and “beatifying” women that I admire or archetypes that I feel deserve to be elevated to a higher status through representation in art.  I am currently working in collage, found objects and paint.

In another project I am working with puppeteers, musicians, storytellers, and dancers to animate a sculptural piece of work that consists of a dining table with cracked and broken crockery. We will explore the story within the story.  What would it say if the table could talk?

 

If you would like to know more about Slavka Jovanović:

Email:  Slavka.j@googlemail.com

Click here for Slavka’s Facebook page

Colleen Thomas “Dance is the most communicative art form that I know”

I have been dancing for 42 years, it is the most communicative art form that I know.

 

Colleen Thomas
Colleen Thomas

Colleen Thomas, 46, New York City.

Colleen Thomas is a New York based choreographer and performing artist. She began her professional career with the Miami Ballet and went on to work with renowned contemporary choreographers such as Nina Wiener Dance Company, Donald Byrd/The Group, Bebe Miller Dance Company, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, and The Kevin Wynn Collection among others. In 1997 a creative collaboration with Bill Young evolved into a company focused on rigorous physicality and dynamic partnering. Their work has been seen throughout the U.S, Europe, Asia, and South America. Now interested in focusing on illuminating her vision of contemporary work, Thomas has formed ColleenThomasDance.  Thomas has presented her work in Hong Kong, Brazil, and Paris and in New York at Joyce Soho, Danspace Project, Dance New Amsterdam, Dance Theater Workshop, The Miller Theater, Danny K. Playhouse, and The Kumble Arts Center, as well as at Cal State Long Beach, University of Maryland, Connecticut College, Ursinus College, East Carolina University, and Minneapolis at the Ritz Theater, Southern Theater, and The New Guthrie.

Thomas received her BA in psychology from SUNY Empire State College and her MFA in Dance from University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. She is currently an Associate Professor of Professional Practice at Barnard College of Columbia University.

Here is our interview with Colleen:

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

My recent work has taken a more political stance. It has become important for me to try to make a change in my small world through dance, rather than only communicating something personal or showing an abstract world on stage. I think it is my age and my children that make this so important to me at this point in my life.  In Her(e) Again Untitled the dancers and I were engulfed in the sexual discrimination cases that were being discussed all around the country. I usually create work in a very collaborative way with my dancers and there was no way to get around what was happening in our world at that point in time. We spoke about equality, societal pressures, fears, and other issues that relate to the female human condition. We put our voice, our experiences, and our politics on the stage in hopes of continuing the dialogue with audiences and finding some kind of justice and peace in our own world.

Tell us why you chose this submission?

I chose both my submissions because they deal with equality and the strong desire to be heard, understood, and valued as a human being.

Here is a link to the interview piece I made for Barnard/Columbia dances at NYLA. It was a work on the students that “subtly but powerfully tackled the issue of sexual assault” according to the writer of on our terms.

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

I chose dance long ago or it chose me if you believe Martha Graham. I have been dancing for 42 years. It is the most communicative art form that I know.  The body is universal and how we live in it so individual and fascinating to me that I will be studying it for the rest of my time on earth.

Watching a dancer express with their body can make an audience member deeply live through a similar experience. The gift of watching someone pick up another, or hold another, or even slowly place their hand on a shoulder speaks so much more loudly than saying the words, ”I will pick you up, hold you, comfort you…” Dance is action, more than just the words. Three-dimensional and visceral, it is immediate and in the moment. There is nothing but the experience then and there. Dance can be invaluable for any issue.

What is your process when creating?

I work very collaboratively. I want the dancers to feel valued and empowered, and as invested in the work as I am. I try to remember that its not about me, but that this process is about sharing, listening and giving so that we can create something from nothing.

I often begin with improvisation and movement research.  But, from there my process varies from piece to piece. I try not to repeat the same process twice. I have employed various inspirational impulses -from literature to contemporary visual art. The dialogue of artistic permission and restraint utilized in Lars von Trier’s documentary, The Five Obstructions, inspired one piece I made in 2009. The collaboration with my composer involved an experiment with control and authorship as we place deliberate roadblocks to each other’s creative choices. This trio (called Winning You With Words- this is how we fall), was created by manipulating the process derived from Von Trier’s exploration of mentor Jorgen Leth’s film “The Perfect Human.”

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

Strong, creative and kind human beings inspire me. Bold woman artists, poets, and visual designers such as Clarice Lispector and Valie Export inspired recent works I have created.  I am moved by the human condition- everything from struggle and peace to sexuality, gender, awkwardness, race, memory, loss, greed, acceptance, youth, age, politics, discrimination, corruption, rules, breaking the rules, birth, freedom….I am interested in how we experience this time on earth and how we deal with all that comes up.

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

Feminism means gender equality. Human equality. Yes, I am a feminist.

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

When I was introduced to Art Saves Lives International your mission moved me. I believe art can change and save lives. I have seen dance touch people’s lives through performance, therapy, and in the classroom.

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 lucky to be a woman and it is sometimes even empowering. But, women are easily objectified and women dancers even more so. Our culture -specifically American culture – knows so little about dance. Early on in my career I would get questions about whether I danced in a bar or on Broadway or whatever people associated with women and dance. There is such a limited knowledge and support for the art form in America that I have found I have to make a strong effort to educate and inspire a possible dance lover. Another challenge is this: It is documented widely that male dancers and choreographers in my field far more easily rise through the ranks, while woman who are often as talented get left behind. As there are more women in the field, the statistics are much better for a man working in dance. Women come up against and have to navigate through ageism, politics, and gender stereotypical prejudices that I don’t think men ever encounter. I have had to work to keep my voice strong as a choreographer. I think having children was a real wake up call for me; in particular having a girl. I want to model the feminine potential for her. That said, I still think women have to work twice as hard to accomplish what they want.

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

No. Woman and men are not equal. We see horrific, unacceptable, extreme cases of this inequality all over the world.

I’m lucky to have been born into my situation. I choose to live in New York City where I believe issues of discrimination- gender, sexual, and racial are not as overt as other parts of America. But, inequality is still prevalent here. I experience it in the dance world, in academia, and in everyday life.

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

Art has saved my life many times. Art makes you experience the world more fully and in multiple ways.  It can be as simple as helping someone see a different perspective or point of view or as complex as building new synapses and connections for movement in the brain.

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

I have only recently felt the strong desire to bring about greater change with my work.  I have always been interested in considering and connecting with my audience with my work.  But as I get older and raise my children, I feel a new motivation to speak directly and connect more deeply to the audience in the work I create, as well as through activities such as community work, post-show talks, and open workshops.

What are your goals as with your art?

I want to move – whether it is subtly or grand- the audience and I want to be moved by the experience of the collaboration with everyone involved.

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

My next work is a continuation of the questions that I have only begun to address in Her(e).  I’m interested to further address how women are objectified and how we move/struggle with and through obstacles placed in our paths as well as unconscious constraints already set in place.

When I began this research, I was looking at it from a white female perspective and honestly focusing on white male privilege.  It has become important to me at this point in the work to look at the African American male and how he is similarly objectified in a much different way.

Connect with Colleen Thomas:

http://www.colleenthomasdance.com/

https://vimeo.com/colleenthomas

 

Release date for ASLI’s first ever E-magazine

Don’t forget to look out on the 7th of April for ASLI’s first ever E-magazine issue featuring artists from all over the world who through their art communicate important issues.

This issue is focused on women around the world as it was launched in aid of International women’s day.

ASLI E-MAGAZINE

All artists who were sent a confirmation that they will be in the E-magazine will be sent a link to the magazine on the 7th of April

 

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If you are an artist of any ability or discipline please subscribe to this blog so you can get the quarterly call for artists for the E-magazine, blog features and international art project opportunities.

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