WE HAD A CHAT: This was an interview with the tapestry art installation of my project We Sat On A Mat and Had A Chat and Made Maps #MagicCarpet as backdrop, during the exhibition King’s Artists – New Thinking, New Making (October – December 2018), London, UK. Six contemporary artists collaborated with leading King’s academics in 2017-2018 as part of King’s Artists, an innovative project which enables artists to develop their practice in parallel with academic research. This exhibition shares some of the outcomes of the collaborations. Winkball is a video reporter network that records the cultural heartbeat of the community, city and the world. Reporters: Jackie Adedeji and Itteshad Hossain. See original video here

TAPESTRY ART: Colourful and overworked, the tapestry is a snapshot of Kai’s hyperactive mind. Flitting in and out of reason and legibility, there’s death, sex, surrealism, My Little Pony and terminologies on ‘abnormalities’ of the brain that I’d learnt as the first artist-in- residence at the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre. Kai is shown seated, drawing with my iPad. Close by is the iconic Ada Lovelace, who documented the workings of the early computer, which had been inspired by the Jacquard loom, a contemporary version of which had weaved this tapestry. 

#MAGICCARPET: The tapestry is one of various outputs of a 15-month art-psychiatry commission entitled #MagicCarpet (2017-2019). #MagicCarpet was Kai’s dialogue with Professor of Psychiatry Philip Asherson on mind wandering, and how that relates to (her) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and creativity. A common neurodevelopmental disorder affecting 2.5% of the adult population, ADHD is depicted as affecting mischievous boys, male criminals and highly-decorated swimmers — seldom women, less so as a strength. Interdisciplinary ‘Ill-disciplined’ and exuberant, the ‘magic’ of the work is in irritating existing representations of disability, and diversifying ‘neurodiversity’. Often with a strong performative presence by herself, #MagicCarpet exploits art’s propensity for ambiguity and play, thus playing out All Party Parliamentary Report on Arts, Health and Wellbeing’s argument on how art can transform how we understand illness and health. #MagicCarpet has been featured at Southbank Centre, South London Gallery, NESTA’s The Future of People Powered Health, 5th European Network for Hyperkinetic Disorders Conference, Resonance FM and Big Issue. It won a National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement Images Competition Award for ’Culture Change’. The tapestry is ‘beautiful’ and ‘screams’ for your attention (Disability Arts Online), encouraging ‘everyone to step outside their comfort zone’ (The Psychologist). #MagicCarpet was an Unlimited commission funded by Arts Council England and King’s College London. 

Caption: Interview with Winkball Media on art-psychiatry commission #MagicCarpet December 2018 London UK.