Hafan y Coed Adult Mental Health Unit, Llandough Hospital
Repurposed Medication Trolley
Deep Place. Pontypool High Street 2018
in memory of Frank & Louie
Rima Rupa Biennale
Philip Can’t Decide Whether to go to London
Jennie Can’t Afford to Stockpile
Gail Howard is a visual artist based in Cardiff, mostly engaged with artist and user led collaboration, negotiation and reimagining, the work is site and people responsive, focusing on dialogue, engagement and process.
‘Sometimes but not always, my work evolves as a direct result of my own experiences as a long term mental health service user, and the treatment I recieved therein, particularly the excessive use of ECT, the disintegration of OT services and the lack of access to meaningful activity for inpatients.’
Frustrated by the ‘wellbeing’ agenda espoused by the arts in health movement from both a service user perspective and an artist one, the Brief History of Healing project seeks to promote the benefits of art and the act of making, particularly in relation to social and institutional care. It is also a means of providing a platform for the patients' voice, putting the patient narrative above the multiple narratives created by layers of social, economic, political and institutional constraints.
In 2020, funded by madeinroath I developed a 'home visit' initiative via the community mental health team in East Cardiff, Housecall.
I began visiting people at home who are experiencing mental ill health and making art with them on a weekly basis. The panedemic has meant finding new ways to maintain this contact and to address the compounded sense of isolation experienced by people who are already isolated within their communities, the project is currently on hold and my current work is all home/bed studio based.
Painting and handmaking are intrinsic to my practice, current subjects and obsessions include animals with unusual characteristics, daytime tv and the mental health ‘experts’ who populate it, the commodification of the wellbeing agenda and the rise of the online support group.
Repurposed NHS curtains
ArcadeCampfa, Cardiff Sept 2019
Barbara and the Speakmans
Artists and Their Pets group show 2020
TOMA space, Southend