A unique exhibition in London’s Barbican Centre is showcasing artworks by brain injury patients turned artists. The exhibition, titled Differently Various, is the result of a four-year collaboration between the Barbican arts centre and the charity Headway, which uses music and the arts to help those suffering from brain injuries to take back control of their lives.
The exhibition features paintings, sculptures, photographs, and videos created by 15 artists who have experienced brain injuries due to accidents, strokes, infections, or tumours. The artworks reflect their personal journeys of recovery, resilience, and identity. Some of the artworks are self-portraits, while others are abstract expressions of their emotions, memories, and dreams.
One of the artists exhibiting at the Barbican is Yokabet Mekuria, who suffered a brain injury after contracting meningitis in 2017. Her self-portrait shows her in bright, vibrant colours. “With the colours I suppose it’s like to say I’m joyful, I’m not hiding in the background any more, I’m here,” Mekuria says. “To actually see myself here is unbelievable because I never thought I would be here,” she adds.
Another artist is David Grant, who sustained a brain injury after being hit by a car in 2014. His artwork is a collage of images and words that represent his life before and after the accident. He says that making art has helped him to cope with his challenges and express his feelings. “It’s like therapy for me. It’s a way of getting things out of my head and onto paper,” Grant says.
The exhibition also includes music composed by people who have been helped by Headway. The music was created using a software called Brain Computer Music Interfacing (BCMI), which allows users to control sounds with their brainwaves. The music reflects the moods and thoughts of the composers, as well as their musical preferences and influences.
The exhibition aims to raise awareness and understanding of brain injuries, as well as to celebrate the creativity and strength of the artists. It also hopes to inspire other people who have experienced brain injuries to explore their artistic potential and find new ways of self-expression.
Differently Various runs at the Barbican Centre, London until August 6 Admission is free.