“I put obesity because I’ve had a lot of issues with food. I used to be anorexic and then I started taking anti-psychotics and they made me obese. Now I’ve lost a couple of stone, but I’m still over weight so I put more food less energy and a big image of obesity. I cut out “slept on the sofa” because when I’m not well I sleep on the sofa a lot. I don’t go to bed, I sleep fully clothed. And this is some redness and some red blood cells that I found because I self-harm quite a lot. This bit over here is some fish, and I put “hidden” because I’ve got a fear of fish. It means I don’t go swimming or anything. And I’m hiding in fear. This is a screen. When I’m not well I think TV screens and phone screens can control you. And this is a mouse, because one time I cut up a mouse and pulled all its organs out. It was horrible, I really wasn’t well, so I put dangerous there. Then the nicer bits – this is some sunshine coming through, and this is “Let it Be” – I learnt in therapy let is be is better than let it go. The different areas of the collage are: food and body image, and fatness; self-harming, depression, anxiety, paranoia; and then calmness and getting well. The sewing machine is a nice thing to do for recovery, and its quite mindful because when I sew I’m totally in the moment. I can’t be thinking about something else, or I wouldn’t be able to sew. I did a sewing course last year and I made a friend who is “normal”. It made me confident because I thought I could mix with people who aren’t service users. I’ve been in the system a long time and all my friends are service users”.
Alexa Wright works with photography, video, sound and interactive digital media. Her practice often exists at the intersection of art and medical science. Alexa’s work has been shown widely, both nationally and internationally. Recent exhibitions include: 'Slippage, The Unstable Nature of Difference', Chester University Gallery (2015); 'Crafting Anatomies', Bonington Gallery, Nottingham (2015); 'Hybrid Bodies', PHI Centre, Montreal (2014); 'Archisle Photography Open', Jersey Arts Centre, St Helier, Jersey (2013); (honorable mention); 'Portas Abertas', Fórum Eugénio de Almeida, Évora, Portugal (2013); 'Digital Aesthetic 3', Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston (2012); 'Born in 1987: the Animated Gif', Photographer’s Gallery, London (2012). Alexa is Reader in Photography and Visual Culture at the University of Westminster in London, UK. Her single-authored book, ‘Monstrosity the human monster in visual culture’ was published by IB Tauris in June 2013. Funded by the Arts Council, Alexa is currently artist in residence at two Mental Health Recovery Centres in North London, UK. View all posts by Alexa Wright