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About

 

 

Raisa Watkiss was born in Pembrokeshire, South Wales, in 1977. She received her first-class Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in 2015 from the CASS School of Art and Design Whitechapel London, collecting the annual dissertation prize. She said of her work in an interview in 2014 - that It's always tricky because of having multiple layers in the concept and motivation to work as the maker. The trick is to prioritise what needs communicating. For clarity, it can be essential to hold back on some elements. There remains a need to interpret Mental ill-health, which has triggered experiences      ( anxiety, loss, suicide, compulsive ritualistic behaviour) and a mind cluttered with intrusive thoughts that have led to two failed suicide attempts. Thus, the motivation to visualise what in a majority is invisible and present it in a format that satisfies conceptual understanding where the idea remains a catalyst for exploration. Being consumed by ritualistic behaviours, what are the stakes for the observer?

 

Moreover, what does Mental ill-health tell us about the world? As its influences consume me, it is challenging to be objective and detached from these questions. In the broader social norms, the perception of mental illness is both acceptance and denial in equal measure. Indeed art from asylums, institutions, and 'Outsider' art is generally recognised as 'art.' Having worked with Koestler arts (the U.K. prison arts charity) and curating shows for high-risk offenders in Leicestershire as a therapeutic method of engaging with offending behaviour, many of these questions remain.   

 

The subject/viewer is confronting mental illness. Nostalgia, as something to hold or destroy, is a method of communication; it is not necessarily the concept. It is a discussion about a vehicle through which a dialogue is opened. Some may think it will trigger thoughts of memory loss and mental health; others may see it as social change. However, the disquieting mind and the struggle are there to see. With the erosion of nostalgia and the cluttered mind searching for relevance, an answer even is engagement and seeking attention to start such dialogues is essential. My struggle with lucidity was brought upon by crippling mental anxiety is represented by the work, chaotic and often void of the physical. 

The work resonates with the demons that occupy the mind. Forgetfulness is brought on by anxiety that searches for cultural understanding, awareness of self, and place in the conflicting cultural dystopia of the postmodern condition. How do notions of spirituality within the object communicate to the subject/viewer? Moreover, how does the artist/maker connect with this.? Hollins informs us, 'for this reason, most people will like traditional art and loath modern art because modern art tries to remove the sense of order and organisation that your intelligence imposes over that you see' (Hollins, C. 2013 ).

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