Michelle Baharier

Baharier is an artist, lecturer, curator, performer, trustee, founder and artistic director. With exceptionally extensive experience in the field of arts for wellbeing, including being founder and CEO of the very successful organisation, Cooltan Arts, and holding many qualifications including an MA from the Slade school of art, Michelle is well known pioneer in her field. “My Artistic practice is influenced by my own heritage and life’s journey. I am a secular Jewish British woman. My work is all about voicing the unheard and bringing neglected stories and histories to life. I have always had a site specific approach and have developed a way of bringing art to new audiences using performance, installation and by re-defining places. I bring new context to a space and give a voice to people whose stories are hidden and unheard. I research history, geography, people and contexts to develop and experiment, as I get to know a place. The time based work I have created is often realised with a group. I have always aimed to bring art to life and people developing ways of using location and technology so that art is accessible and relevant to those who would often be separated from the creative process or due to their class ‘believe that art is not for them and museums are for the middle class’ I always wanted to break this British taboo. All my work explores the relationship between the individual, the personal, the political and our relationship to a particular environment. I was the first artist to put art on the telephone. The project was commissioned by projects UK in Newcastle and involved a number of women sound artists and is in the archive collection at Tate Modern. My work is not static, I use live performance, build instillations and time based pieces to bring an experience to a viewer. My process begins with my passion for linking, thinking, walking and drawing. Whether the work is a live performance or an installation, the drawing and walking always come first and the piece grows as an extension of that process. The making of the work is the part that excites me. I have made sinks that talk and water that gets set on fire. I often bring difference to a space that many people unfamiliar with art, would use. Much of my work has happens outside of the gallery, such as “Shop Till You Drop”, at Peckham Women’s Centre, or “Lemons On Sale Again”, in Jaffa Tel-Aviv, Israel. Here I worked on an installation with my brother (also an artist), where we took over a co-education centre that taught both Arabs and Israelis. This piece coincided with the death of Yitzhak Rabin.”