Painted by artist Andrea Tyrimos, the portrait is a continuation of her own campaign to raise awareness of Mental Health issues. Known for her ‘Bipolar Picasso‘ series, Tyrimos explores mental health through her art. Not only does she paint portraits of people with lived experience of mental health but she records their audio portrait. The viewer is both able to see and hear the story.
For the art fair Andrea chose to depict Catherine who according to Centrepoint was self-harming at 8 years old. She had anorexia and bullemia and spent much of her teenage years in and out of hospital. She found herself homeless when she was asked to leave the family home. After finding Centrepoint she told BBC Radio 4 that “within two weeks I was housed. I have a family there now, they absolutely changed my life.”
Painting for the first time onto linen, Tyrimos explained that she wanted the raw material to be exposed in order to highlight both the “fragility of strength of skin and character.” Talking about the work on her instagram she said that this echoed Catherine’s struggles with being without a home and it’s effect towards her own mental health. The unfinished nature of the hair and clothing she says “forces the viewer to engage with Catherine’s gaze, whilst listening to her innermost thoughts via an audio recording.”
For Andrea the work specially created for the Roy’s People Art Fair is a continuation of her work to raise awareness of the wide ranging nature of how people experience mental health related problems. It’s a project which you can learn more about by listening to our interview with her here.
Roy’s Peoples Art Fair runs from 1-4 November 2018. Featuring over 80 artists across 3 floors it’s free and can be found at the Oxo Tower Bargehouse Gallery. To read more about the work of Andrea Tyrimos and her Bipolar Picasso series click here.