Looking back…February 1, 2022
Around this time last year I traveled to London for the installation of my exhibition Unseen at the Southbank Centre. At the time the Centre was closed, but I was lucky enough to have my work displayed in the windows along The Mandela Walk.
This was huge for me! Not just the images that were printed 4m x 2m, but for my career as an artist. I felt tremendously fortunate to have my work shown at such a prestigious venue. I had a mixture of excitement, nerves and more than a touch of imposter syndrome as I made my way there. I travelled down to London with Ian Smith, the filmmaker that I’d been working with for the last year and half. Ian had been documenting the progress of the project as well as the ‘behind the scenes’ of what was going on in my life whilst making the work. Over the course of this journey (the project, not the drive to London) we became firm friends. Throughout the project I’d dealt with some pretty difficult life events of my own (namely the death of one of my closest friends’ and my father) and Ian was there every step of the way.
When I first embarked on this project I had two main aims: To enable people to create images of themselves that portrayed a struggle that they had been through, in order to help them understand it better and gain a new perspective on it. The other aim was to get this work out into the public domain so that the wider audience could take home a message that struggles with our with mental wellbeing, while often felt beyond articulation, or incomprehensible by others – are something that can be shared with and appreciated by the outside world and need not be experienced in isolation.
Before the global pandemic and subsequent lockdowns the exhibition at the Southbank Centre was supposed to mark the end of the project and be the final showing of the touring exhibition. With all the changes and rearranging of exhibition dates it became the first. Since then I’m thrilled to say that there has been lots more interest in showing this body of work. What’s more, the touring of this body of work is going international! The next showing of Unseen is coming up in April this year, at the Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, Canada. Following on in the spring I’ll be showing ‘Unseen’ in Cologne, Germany, as part of the Sommerblut Kulturfestival. Then, in July in Belfast and in São Paulo, Brazil. (More specifics on those to come at a later date..)
In the meantime, I wanted to express my gratitude for everyone at Unlimited for believing in my work and for commissioning my project in the first place. And, of course, huge thanks to Arts Council Wales for funding this work. You’ve helped me take my work to new heights I never thought I’d achieve. It means more than I can say.