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Rachel Gadsden

Rachel Gadsden is a British artist visual and performance artist who works across the mainstream and disability art sectors both nationally and internationally. She presents cross-cultural visual dialogues that consider the most profound notions of what it is to be human. Rachel’s current work is stimulated by memories from her childhood spent living in Middle East countries and is inspired by recent Qatari, Bahraini, Saudi Arabian, Omani and Palestinian projects. Rachel recently received an R&D International Collaboration award from Unlimited 2017 Commissioning Fund for “It was Paradise” to collaborate with 4 visual artists from the West Bank, Palestine. Inspired by the theme of Palestinian poet and author Mahmoud Darwish’s poem ‘Under Siege’, the project addresses global concerns about: migration, the lingering flight of refugee, disabled and bereaved people.

Posts by Rachel Gadsden

Unlimited 2017: Rachel Gadsden brings UK and Palestinian artists together to consider paradise

It Was Paradise is a cross-cultural collaboration between UK and Palestinian artists, located in London, Liverpool, the West Bank and Gaza, which considers the effects upon individual and community of the sense of isolation and abandonment arising from physical and psychological confinement. Rachel Gadsden introduces her R&D International Collaboration award ...

Photograph of rooftops

The last morning of the residency in Ramallah

The group continued working up to the last minute. A strong initial body of work has already been produced, and powerful relationships forged.  Rachel made sure that all the artists have a good supply of materials to help them through creating art into the autumn.  And we said goodbye, reluctantly, ...

A trip to the museum of Mahmoud Dawish and the Tower Restaurant

After a good mornings work, Amani again provided a welcome lunchtime diversion, a ‘shwarma picnic’; Amani has been an irreplaceable support in organizing locally, and in making the group’s stay as comfortable and productive as possible. We had planned today to drive to Bethlehem as a group, to visit sites of ...

Artwork using Arabic script

Rachel prepares for the next stage of ‘It Was Paradise’

The work continues apace. And today I headed into town to meet with the Art Director of the Qattan Foundation in Ramallah, to explore the possibilities of grant applications and collaboration with It was Paradise. I visited the art shop in Ramallah, a shop that clearly reminds me of my Middle ...

Watercolour painting of a landscape

The mid-point of the ‘It Was Paradise’ residency

The third day of working has been largely studio-based, and I have taken the time to impart technical skills and more painting and drawing is underway, with the motive to creating a comprehensive body artworks for the future of the project. Today there is a general strike in Palestine, in ...

Photo of the team of artists

Palestinian Young Filmmakers Society filmmakers interview the group

On the second morning of work Isra’ Odeh and Firas Addasi (Palestinian Young Filmmakers Society filmmakers) arrived at eight-thirty am. and it so happens that the group had set up for the work outside, in various locations in the grounds of Star Mountain. The beginnings of the themes were explored, ...

painting of a flower

The artists get to work completing sketches

This first day was a day of studio-based work, establishing ground-rules and starting-point.  I asked the group to introduce themselves individually, and tell each other something of their lives. The difficulties imposed upon each member of the group by their circumstances and impairments became apparent very quickly, the significant mobility, ...

Taking up residence at Star Mountain

It had originally been intended that the group would undertake most of the work for It Was Paradise at the Red Crescent in Ramallah, using their highly accessible facilities and workrooms, spending only a very few nights at Star Mountain. However, it became immediately apparent that Star Mountain is an eminently ...

Photo of artist Rachel Gadsden dressed in ceremonial gown

Rachel Gadsden: on being an artist

Acclaimed artist Rachel Gadsden makes artwork that explores universal themes of fragility, survival and hope, drawing on personal experience of living with a chronic hereditary lung condition and visual impairment. On the occasion of being made an Honorary Doctor of the London South Bank University (LSBU) she discusses her route ...