Lizz Brady – ‘Identity’ – Artist Q&A

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On Saturday 8th October 2016, 6-9pm, Instigate Arts take over the main gallery space at HOME in Manchester to host our ‘Identity’ pop-up exhibition. In this series of Q&A’s we get a little more insight into what makes some some of the participating artists tick. Here we speak with artist Lizz Brady

Can you tell us about your practice?

I create work to mirror the temporary malfunction of my mind, striving to create a ‘Cartesian Dualism’, and to challenge the links between physical ‘stuff’ and thinking ‘stuff’; through the building of installations, to form ‘The Moment’ where juxtaposed ideas permeates to fill the empty spaces, in the solid world or within our imagination.

With the use of subtle humour in my work, I explore the theory of laughter, where our amusement is no more than a “sudden transformation of a strained expectation into nothing” (Kant)

I am also the founder of Broken Grey Wires, a contemporary arts organisation, responding to, and exploring mental health.

How does your work relate to the themes of Identity?

The work is a direct response to my mental health issues, specifically the hallucinations I experience. I am always torn between thinking my mental health defines me, to completely disregarding that side of my identity, so the friction there is an interesting power struggle to play with.

Do you think the themes of Identity relate to the current political and social climate?

Yes, from a personal experience. I have recently been taken off my disability benefits, of which I was on for 5 years. This has much to do with the crippling Tory power and the cuts to welfare and other important services like the NHS, and education. I’ve also experienced year long waiting lists for therapy, and discrimination from DWP workers.

All this has an impact on my identity, I constantly ask myself if I am as ill as I believe, due to the doubts from certain sections of society. Mental health is invisible but we must do much more in bringing it to the surface, ending stigma and opening up a dialogue for people who are suffering.

How important is the role of artists’, and the art world, in shaping both people’s lives, and the social and political landscape?

I think it can be very important, art is a great platform to discuss sensitive issues, to push boundaries and to really make a difference in people’s lives.

I am the founder of Broken Grey Wires, and I have been working with communities around the UK, running workshops for people with mental health difficulties. I believe art can be a facilitator for recovery, and increase self-esteem and confidence. I have seen firsthand how creativity can have a positive impact in struggling societies and I think that anything that can give people the freedom to express themselves in a time when so many people feel ignored and helpless, can only be a good thing.

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