Rachel Gadsden exhibits internationally and works across the mainstream and disability art sectors, exploring notions of hope and fragility. Her artistic methodology is energetic and raw, echoing the deepest motivations of what it is to be human.
Rachel has had a lung condition all her life. Her work is ultimately and inextricably informed by a syringe driver that injects her constantly at one-minute intervals with the medication she needs to keep her alive. Her work explores the universal conditions of fragility, survival and hope, reaching out to both individuals and communities for which these themes are likewise vitally relevant and pressing.
After spending 3 years training as a method actress followed by 3 years practicing as a professional theatre performer, Rachel Gadsden spent the following 20 years as a contemporary visual artist. She has a BA (Wimbledon School of Art) and an MA (City and Guilds of London Art College) in Fine Art. Now based in Raynes Park, London, she exhibits internationally and works across the mainstream and disability art sectors, exploring notions of hope and fragility. In 1999 Rachel exhibited at the Dostoyevsky Museum, St Petersburg, Russia. Her piece ‘Wasteland’ was awarded the Most Popular Painting Prize in the Hunting Art Competition 2003; subsequent awards have included an Arts Admin Digital Media Bursary 2004, Dada Visual Artist of the Year 2005, Shrewsbury International Painting Prize 2006, Holton Lee International Disability Arts Prize 2007, Momentum Arts Council UK and Dada-South Bursary 2009 and Dada Awards International Arts Award 2009.
Recent commissions have included a year long appointment and major solo exhibition as the first contemporary artist in residence at Hampton Court Palace (2007-2008), appointment as the ‘first’ artist for Parliamentary Outreach for the year long Rethink Parliament General Election project and exhibition 2009-2010, an ongoing commitment as artist for WheelPower UK at Stoke Mandeville, and a live capture artwork performance for the Liberty Festival 2010 commissioned by Bradley Hemmings, Director of the International Greenwich and Docklands Festival. Rachel is collaborating with Ryan Laight to create a major outdoor commission for the Paralympic Torch Relay Celebrations at Stoke Mandeville Stadium and Aylesbury Town Square in Aug 2012.
Most recently Rachel was commended in the 2011 International Freedom to Create Prize in Cape Town in Nov 2011.