Here at Art Saves Lives International we are now launching our 3rd campaign and call for artists. With or first “celebration of women” and second “mental illness, health and recovery” we have created an exciting collaborative space to share art and create change.

So what is our next topic?



Misused and Abused - By Charlotte Farhan
Misused and Abused – By Charlotte Farhan


Our world is in turmoil and it seems everyday we wake up and hear of more people being killed by war and poverty, either directly or indirectly. Poverty is known everywhere around the world, even the most “developed” countries have excessive poverty rates.

War and conflicts are happening in most corners of the world.

Capitalism is at the heart of these issues in many ways.

So we at ASLI wanted to shed light on these ever increasing problems and discuss them using artistic expression and creativity, allowing for a conversation to be had, from and by the unheard. So if you are interested in the CALL FOR ARTISTS click here.


However please read on to find out why these issues are so important.




Here are some facts:

  • Nearly 1/2 of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty — less than $1.25 a day.

  • 1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty.

  • 805 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat. Food banks are especially important in providing food for people that can’t afford it themselves. Run a food drive outside your local grocery store so people in your community have enough to eat. Sign up for Supermarket Stakeout.

  • More than 750 million people lack adequate access to clean drinking water. Diarrhea caused by inadequate drinking water, sanitation, and hand hygiene kills an estimated 842,000 people every year globally, or approximately 2,300 people per day.

  • In 2011, 165 million children under the age 5 were stunted (reduced rate of growth and development) due to chronic malnutrition.

  • Preventable diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia take the lives of 2 million children a year who are too poor to afford proper treatment.

  • As of 2013, 21.8 million children under 1 year of age worldwide had not received the three recommended doses of vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.

  • 1/4 of all humans live without electricity — approximately 1.6 billion people.

  • 80% of the world population lives on less than $10 a day.

  • Oxfam estimates that it would take $60 billion annually to end extreme global poverty–that’s less than 1/4 the income of the top 100 richest billionaires.

  • The World Food Programme says, “The poor are hungry and their hunger traps them in poverty.” Hunger is the number one cause of death in the world, killing more than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.

There are 42 ACTIVE CONFLICTS worldwide today!

Civil war has been identified as one of the main causes for the persistence of poverty in many regions of the world: war damages infrastructure, institutions and production, destroys assets, breaks up communities and networks and kills and injures people.

“All war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.”
― John Steinbeck

We at ASLI are committed to being against war and we aim to highlight the struggles war creates and the impact it has around the world.



INEQUALITY – The top 1% of the world’s population are the elites, the bourgeoisie those who have capitalised on the system of “top down politics” and fill the population’s minds with the idea “anyone can be rich if they work hard enough” which is a fallacy designed to get more people working and making money for the people at the top, remember there’s only so much room at the top. Making money by effectively taking it from others through the consumer market, taxation, debt, interest, insurance and many more…

WASTE and POLLUTION – The top percent of people have resources in abundance and an excess of “things” and necessities, with all of this being with the minority at the top, it is no surprise there is so much waste. Even the middle classes in developed countries waste so much of what many do not have. Food is wasted the most and often simply because food distributors and stores are afraid of profit margins reducing. Pollution is excessively caused by overproduction of goods and companies refusing to responsible for their impact on the environment in general. It doesn’t matter to them that, in the long term, we’ll all be dead, as long as in the short term they’ll have the most money.

HUNGER – When there is such an unfair distribution of wealth there is a majority around the world who have less and not enough resources to survive. This world houses the excessively over fed and the excessively malnourished, the minority is in between. We know that there is more than enough food for everyone to be fed adequately, but the capitalist nature of the world only wants those who can afford food to eat, inturn wasting more food which could be given to those starving. 

UNCHARITABLE SOCIETY – When capitalism rules, making money and keeping money for profit is a greater need to individuals and companies than being altruistic. This leads to less charitable societies and is due to a forced need to put oneself first above all else. This is fueled by governments cutting benefits and scapegoating the poor. 

LESS CONCERN FOR PUBLIC SAFETY – When a world is more concerned with profit and looking after themselves over others, big companies will often cut corners in health and safety requirements due to cost. Many injuries and fatalities happen due to this and could be simply avoided. 

UNDEMOCRATIC POLITICS – The wealthy and powerful will always have more monopoly in a capitalist society and this in turn creates undemocratic practices. Governments will put big business and banks before the public. Also money within politics means candidates who do not have financial backing will be disadvantaged in elections and against lobbyists.

WAR – Most conflicts around the world in recent years have been for profit. War is big business, funded by big companies, oil and arms dealers. Even private military and special forces are now used in conflict zones. Many interventions from developed countries are due to a particular interest of theirs is in danger of losing them money or there is money to be made from an opportunity. 

TOTALITARIANISM – Forms of dictatorships are seen not only in corrupt governments but also within big business and organizations. With huge bonuses being given to those at the top, those who do less work are rewarded whilst their staff is paid minimum wage. The media industry is also run like a totalitarian state, with normally one organisation monopolising the majority of media outlets within capitalist countries. 

PROPAGANDA – Capitalism would not be able to exist if it weren’t for advertising. With the power of suggestion, psychology and “brain washing” media can reach and influence you in so many ways throughout the day. Making you want to buy those “things” you do not need or even want. It is also used as propaganda and allows ideologies to be pumped out of your media outlets and devices telling you, if you have more money you are a success, telling you to blame the poor, the disabled and migrants for all that is wrong, leaving you guilt free to buy more “things”!








REMEMBER our call for artists are open to all who create:

visual artists, photographers, musicians, singers, dancers, performance artists, creative writers, poets, spoken word artists, journalists, film and documentary makers, actors, fashion designers, crafters, artisans, tattooists, textile artists, street performers, cartoonists and animators, graphic designers, bloggers, vloggers….

basically if you are using your art and creativity to communicate to the world WE WANT YOU!



If you feel you have something to say or create which will comment on our campaign “capitalism, poverty and war” then click here to see what you have to do to get involved.


“A revolution is not a bed of roses. A revolution is a struggle between the future and the past.”
― Fidel Castro

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




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


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!


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

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

Join our Facebook Group


Share your Creativity and Art with us!


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:



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


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 


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

 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 
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.

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


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 (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


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


Issue One Campaign Gallery

 We can’t wait to engage with you all!

ASLI info-graphic by Charlotte Farhan



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.


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



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.


Here are ways to connect with us and stay up to date

Facebook Page

Facebook Group

Twitter tweet us @ASLInonprofit

Instagram use our hash-tag #artsaveslivesinternational

Google +



ASLI Exhibition at The Art House – Event Photos

This slideshow requires JavaScript.





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 -
The Art House – Southampton –



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









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



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.



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.


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.”