Approved: 09.06.2022

leon

Artist, Curator, Lecturer / academic, Researcher, Writer

Approved: 09.06.2022

Placing lived family, LGBTQ+, addictions, and abuse trauma at the heart of my work, I invite exchange and interaction with the participant-voyeur-audience.

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Artist Statement

Placing lived family, LGBTQ+, addictions, and abuse trauma at the heart of my work, I invite exchange and interaction with the participant-voyeur-audience.

My trasndisciplinary praxis seeks humanity in horror, humour in the mundane, and joy in melancholy.

Through Nan Kids I developed the dualistic performative actions - Nanterventions - a queering of the hypocrisy social mores. Doing something to cover up what is really going on. Fruthering the Brechtian concept of Verfremdungseffekt, Nanterventions are a diversion from what needs to be shown.

As shame only dies on exposure, my practice takes a confessional approach: uncomfortable expositions of my own sexual and alcoholic transgressions; schizophrenics channelling my absent father; blunt explanations about the horrifying acts that led to my conception.

Repeatedly, I'm told by people who have experienced my artworks that I am brave and courageous.

I'm not sure really how to feel about that.

CV & Education

Upcoming and Recent Artistic Commissions and Projects

SHAMES: Looking Never Hurt – music and audio-visual artworks examining the lived trauma of being a queer teenager growing up during the AIDS crisis. Commissioned by QUEEF Experimental for Supernormal Festival, August 2022. Winner of the British Music Collection’s LGBTQ+ Composers Open Call September 2022.

SECRETS: The Last Five Days of Sandra – performative installation co-produced with Britten-Pears Arts at Snape, Suffolk, February 2022. Currently being developed into a larger gallery space work ‘Absent Fathers’ with my niece who never knew her father (my deceased brother).

Inventory – audio description and captioned photographs revisiting former ‘sites of shame’ while in active addiction presented as beer mats in bars and cafes; University of West London’s Addiction Recovery Arts Knowledge Exchange (Sep 2022); funded by University of West London and a CuratorSpace artist bursary.

NAN KIDS – performative sound-word portraits of adults raised in kinship care at Wandsworth Arts Fringe, Deptford X Festival, Reel Rebels Radio (Hackney) and SPILL Festival (Ipswich) (Jul 2021 – Jun 2022); funded by Arts Council England and Sound and Music New Voices. 

Recovery: Shadows and Light – joint exhibition at SET Lewisham with Emma B. Hewitt (Mar 2022), juxtaposing our stories of addiction-related and spiritual recoveries. Through 88 visual pieces, I created 4 collections of visual works (including Inventory).

A Day In The Life Of… – artist-in-residence at Grove Park Library, part of Lewisham 2022, The Mayor’s Borough of Culture (talking heads film of library users, Jan 2022). 

Pulp-Non Fiction – film with disabled artist Fiona Helen Ledger (Jun-Dec 2021), a Disability Arts Online Covid Commission 2021.

The Avant Garden Drop-In Centre, The Avant Garden on Ice, Nine Sound Works Made Over Nine Days In November and Days of Future Past – four 90 minute long form audio radio works collaborating with over 30 artists and a four-day residency at Round Chapel, Hackney. (Apr 2020 – Mar 2021). Commissioned and/or selected by Hackney Historic Buildings Trust, Reel Rebels Radio, Kaamos/Datscha Radio, #WalkCreate online Gallery, CCA Glasgow’s Radiophrenia Festival, Transmission Gallery and Queer Contemporaries exhibitions, Queer Art Projects, and Squish.Rotterdam (2022)

 

Education

East Bristol Contemporary – Night School, Feb-Mar 2022

PhD in Applied Theatre – creative practice research ‘Breaking the content of emotions: autoethnography as an art-making process’ – Feb 2022-Jan 2025, awarded a three year Vice-Chancellor’s PhD Scholarship.