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Gail Howard

Cardiff
artist/curator and co founder of the artist led, Cardiff based organisation madeinroath.

My work both as a visual artist and a 'curator' (quotation marks because I don't like the word, and see this element of my practice more as collaboration than curation) explores and questions our relationship to our environment, touching on how the political, social, economic and the cultural impact on our lives. Motivated by the belief that art is essential, and can be actively transformative, my practice as an artist/collaborator has developed through the initiating of acts of negotiation and re-imagination. The work is site and people responsive, focusing on dialogue, engagement and legacy, with an emphasis on working with groups and individuals who may have been excluded, don’t have an art background, or both.

In 2018 I set up the Basket Exchange which led to the Brief History of Healing project, developed as a direct result of my experiences as an inpatient and a long term outpatient in mental healtcare settings. Funded by ACW, BHoH began as a hospital based mobile/bedside art making facility, and has since developed into a 'housecall' initiative, working with MH service users in their home, and making art with them.   

The Tu Fewn commission which I undertook from 2015-2016 with g39 in Cardiff was the first time that I have worked as a curator specifically in the context of disability and the arts. Using the concept of ‘adaptive resilience’ (the capacity for organisations to retain their integrity, maintain standards of excellence and remain productive within their core ethos whilst adapting in response to changing circumstances for both artist and audience), the project focused on a number of key areas - empathy, interpretation, access, diversity and the relationship between the mainstream and the margins; specifically addressing the space that exists between the mainstream contemporary art world and the Disability Arts Movement. Through dialogue and practical engagement with the space, the project attempted to unpick accepted institutional approaches to the arts, from the point that the visitor is first made aware of the exhibition to the point at which the artwork is encountered.This led to a further debate within the gallery and the wider art community about how best to deliver interpretive material which did not further alienate new visitors, and has resulted in one of my current preoccupations as an artist and a curator : to attempt to dispense with impenetrable handouts and presumptuous,pretentious artspeak. As a long term mental health service user, much of my own artwork references my experiences of manic depression and the way this is treated both within the NHS, and also in a societal/responsive context. I am a co founder/project manager of the hyper local Cardiff based organisation madeinroath, an artist led organisation which, for ten years ran a festival through the use of overlooked, abandoned, domestic and community spaces and which now operates out of an empty shop and a disused laundry space. we run residencies, workshops a community darkroom and a number of other community based projects in Cardiff and beyond. 

 

Support Group (self assembly)

Brief History of Healing Part 2

Watch with Barbara

A Brief History of Healing Part 1

them.us.them

The Basket Exchange

Subtweet/Retweet

Yn Cynnwys Ni, Does That Include Us? Part 1

matrolinos

Births, Deaths and Shuffles

domus

requiem mass for the lost architecture of the city

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