An award-winning neurodivergent artist has launched a 400 piece exhibition in Leicester, which documents her lived experience, and struggles during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The ‘400 Portraits’ exhibition, created by Chloe Bates, has gone on display at Leicester’s BETA-X, where it will remain until January 7.
It is a collection of self portraits, which were created over 400 days during the Covid-19 pandemic. They document the artist’s lived experience of lockdown, and were a way of coping with the intense isolation at the time, she says.
“It was good for my mental health – almost a daily meditation, which I found very calming,” said Chloe, who has ADHD, Dyspraxia, and also suffers with anxiety.
“Some of the portraits aren’t particularly detailed, but I made a point to do one everyday and upload it to Instagram.
“People responded from across the world, and it made me feel part of the community at a time when everyone was feeling quite isolated,” she went on to reveal.
“It was a way to express myself in that moment. I’d take a photograph and work from there. Not all of them were happy – some are really miserable. One portrait was created after I’d just been crying in fact. I’d had an argument with my husband due to the confines of lockdown. There were some really tough at times, but being creative helped me to cope.
“I think it’s important for everyone, but particularly for me, being neurodiverse, I find it absolutely essential.”
Chloe says that part of the reason for sharing her work, is to show that people with learning difficulties are “valued creatives and contributors to the arts.”
“Often because these disabilities are less visible, we are less seen but often hugely there in the arts as genuinely diagnosed creatives,” she told the Leicester Times.
Chloe, 59, was recently awarded overall winner of Leicester’s L.O.V.E Art Prize, for her stunning abstract work ‘Richard and the Tulips’ following a month-long exhibition across multiple venues in the city.
Alongside caring for her disabled husband, she is also a fine art student at De Montfort University, and a well-respected singer and poet in the area.
Her work can be viewed at BETA-X, in Leicester’s Church Gate, between 12 and 4, until January 7.
To find out more, visit: https://leicesterbetax.com/