Aly Lou Smith United Kingdom
Aly Smith is an artist with bi-polar and a few other mental health diagnosis thrown in depending which health care provider she sees. Her work often looks at the comedic side of her bi-polar whilst wanting to raise awareness of mental health and the struggles that herself and people have.
My artistic practice is heavily influenced by my bi-polar diagnosis. I work across a mix of disciplines, predominantly oil paintings and textile sculptures which focus on clowns and masks which contemplate the disguises of everyday life.
I have worked in film supporting young adults to produce a film as part of The Northern Stars project in conjunction with the Tyneside Cinema. This was a completely new direction and the first time I have spoken about my mental health in an honest public manner .This gave me an interest in film-making as an art form.
My role as a Community Engagement Worker and artist in a local Community Centre recently came to an end, I was embedded in that community for 10 years and delivered workshops covering a variety of mediums for all ages and backgrounds so am comfortable developing and implementing art workshops. I also understand the barriers people face to participate in an art or cultural activity and am comfortable ,challenging those obstacles and providing an inclusive, safe space for participants.
Recent artistic training involved a ‘Curious Arts’ session LGBTQI inclusivity.
My most recent exhibition was The Torn From Home exhibition,(funded by Newcastle City Council) part of Holocaust Memorial Day‘19, where in collaboration with another artist I collated stories of local residents who had escaped genocide. The stories were portrayed alongside oil portraits of the participants.
My latest workshop delivery as an artist was in February 2020 where I supported Newcastle City Council’s Art Development team to carry out a consultation with hard to reach groups to understand what we need to do to allow people equality to access the arts.
During Lockdown I have been unable to carry out a years worth of art workshops that were planed for young people in a local youth club, adult classes in a local art gallery and and with a group of adults with mental health issues through an employability programme. I have returned to concentrating on producing art for sale with the support of www.ancoraart.co.uk an ethical agent. I have also taken up writing as am currently working on a book of poetry.