Art Saved My Bacon at Together Our Space
Posted on 20, August 2009
Art Saved My Bacon
The first solo exhibition by Jewish artist Sandra Robinson, Art Saved My Bacon, is on show at the Together Our Space Gallery from 20 August. Life-size sculptures plus paintings and poems map Sandra’s journey through her childhood, cultural heritage, and periods of mental illness, to recovery and happiness.
The title of Sandra’s exhibition is lifted from a featured work in which building block style letters are laid out to form the sentence, ‘As a Jewish woman art saved my bacon’. The letters in the piece group together in odd combinations that make it difficult to decipher meaning, suggesting that it is art rather than words or doctrines that communicate who she is to the world. Sandra comments: “After all these years of being unwell I’m finally able to come out with my first solo exhibition and say: this is me, this is who I am.”
After showing much promise and being accepted to art-college a year early (age 17), Sandra dropped out due to periods of depression. Decades later, which included a painful 13 year creative block where she was unable to produce any work, she was diagnosed as being bi-polar. Following a referral from the day hospital she was attending, Sandra was supported to regain belief in her art by Community Link, a department at Barnet College providing support to adult learners. It is this that has given her the confidence to finally put on her own exhibition, with the support of Together Our Space.
Much of the work on display in this exhibition is humorous and powerfully hopeful as it emerges from painful and difficult periods in Sandra’s life, to eventual wellbeing. In Dreaming of Cream Cakes, the striking image used on the poster for the exhibition, the colours and tone remain stubbornly bright, however Sandra describes the image as, “an expression of my low self-esteem, and the angry feelings I had toward myself at a certain point in my life.
My psychiatrist at the time said I was an ‘entertainer’. Like many people I often use humour and jokes to survive bad times.”