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Show RCA 2019

Antonia Attwood

Show RCA work

Major project:

Nothing is further from who I am

The multi-screen installation Nothing is further from who I am  (2019) was born out of an interview with a mother who had suffered with post-natal depression and OCD. Many of the subjects we discussed could be seen as taboo; the interview is quite often uncomfortable to listen to. The installation is made up of a number of different elements: Liminal Space, a two-screen piece exploring the space created between mother and daughter through mental illness; Numbness, a durational video piece exploring the struggles and endurance often felt by mothers; Confessional, a verbatim re-enactment of an interview to retain anonymity but ensuring the same utterances; and a sculptural work based on the Celtic motherhood knot, burnt to a point where the wood is extremely fragile and under stress.

I have, as the writer C.C. O’Hanlon suggests, ‘tried to combine specific emotional and psychological contexts with intense curiosity about how the metaphors inherent in mental illness might be rendered visually… there is nothing palliative in [my] work, no misplaced optimism, no illusion of an end-point.’


  • I am a photographer and film maker, whose work derives from personal experiences of mental health conditions. I am particularly interested in the discomfort and often taboo subjects that mental health issues can raise. My work is about sharing stories and recreating experiences with the aim of raising awareness and starting new dialogues. I explore specific issues, not simply a general mental health diagnosis, but its effect on a particular individual, and I collaborate with people who have suffered from poor mental health. My interviewees always remain anonymous so that they feel comfortable opening up about subjects that are often closed. We all have thoughts that could be deemed inappropriate, and it is common in mental health situations to avoid talking about these for fear of judgement. I want to open these subjects up in order to reveal things that are unspoken and to give people permission to be honest and open.

    Most of my work is done in multi-screen installations, which enables me to create an immersive environment, intensifying the feelings explored by surrounding the spectator with images and sound. The installations can be seen as collages made up of smaller explorative parts. I work with objects in the space in order to create barriers which force the viewer to engage physically with the narrative.

  • Previous degrees

  • BA Photography, London College of Communication, 2014
  • Experiences

  • Arts co-ordinator, Free Space Project, Kentish Town Health Centre, London, 2018–present; Workshop facilitator, London College of Communication, 2018–present; Workshop facilitator, Free Space Project, London, 2017–present
  • Exhibitions

  • 'Disquietude', Bethlem Gallery, Bromley, 2018; 'Control' Exhibition, Jarvis Dooney Gallery, Berlin, 2017; 'Inside', FORMAT Photography Festival, QUAD, Derby, 2016–17
  • Conferences

  • Rooted in the Landscape Symposium, Paintings in Hospitals, Kings College London, 2018; PsychART Conference, Maudsley Hospital, London, 2017
  • Publications

  • C.C. O’Hanlon, Minor Literatures, Control: the Artist’s Experience of Mental Illness, 2017
  • Awards

  • Inside Commission for FORMAT Photography Festival; Arts Council Project Grant, Institute of Inner Vision (2)
Royal College of Art