Toni is a London based self-taught acrylic artist. She has an educational background in medical neuroscience and is currently working in the field of mental health.
One of Toni’s dreams is to have her work exhibited at the Bethlem Museum of the Mind, an art gallery that explores the history of art and mental healthcare. Her work is often influenced by personal experiences with mental health and she uses art as a means for healing and self-discovery.
Healing, growth and transformation
No More Chaos was born out of initial ideas involving representations of healing and emotional isolation. Toni and her group agreed on the idea that isolation can be a positive thing if viewed as an opportunity for growth and transformation. This painting embodies that notion and centres around the story/journey of the lady in the gold dress.
The painting is split into two very distinct sections – the top and bottoms halves. The top half is colourful and chaotic whereas the bottom is dark though features a dazzling light of hope. Listen and read as Toni gives a full analysis of the piece:
‘Top half of the painting:
At first glance, the array of colours seen might imply that the life (prior to isolation) is beautiful and colourful. However, it is only a façade. Paying attention to the colours, black, white, and shades of red, pink and purple are used. These represent the dark side of life, the seemingly good parts, danger, stress, instability and decadence, respectively.
The trail of white in the middle demonstrates the good inside attempting to permeate the chaos. However, the “chaos” still appears to be more prominent than the “good”. These colours overlap in an irregular pattern to further highlight the instability and chaos of life before isolation.’
‘Bottom half of the painting
A lady, She, in a yellow golden dress that highlights charisma, can be seen to be on the steps by the side of a building with a rather cool but mysterious exterior represented by the colour purple. The door of the building is open with light shining through, so bright it diverges. She is on the 6 th out of 10 steps down towards the open door, signifying that She is more than halfway there.
Overall ten steps because ten often represents completion. She can see the light, but the chaos follows closely behind, reluctant to let go of Her. Parts of the chaos, specifically the black (dark side) and red (stress, danger), can be spotted on the 4th step down, and on the floor, flowing towards her. This is all an attempt to distract her. Nevertheless, She is facing the light, determined to continue her journey towards self-discovery and healing.’
‘The overall message:
Isolation can draw you away from the chaos of life, allowing time for self-discovery, healing and growth. The journey is not without distractions, but we must stay on course in order to reach the light. One step at a time.
With regards to how it relates to Abena and Isha’s work, we all decided to demonstrate different parts of self-discovery and healing to create an overall picture of the reality of healing. I have, in my painting, demonstrated more of the awareness and journey to self-discovery and healing.’
Devising and Collaboration
As part of the project, Toni collaborated with Abena and Isha. each artist took influence from one another to create their final pieces. In a Zoom call, they settled on the idea that isolation can be used as a means for self discovery and personal growth. Isolation isn’t all bad and that often, healing comes when we move out of a dark place. In the audio excerpt below, Toni gives an account of the initial collaborative process with the other artists in the group.
To explore other works from this collaboration group, click on the images below. To return to the main exhibition page, click on The Collaborator’s Project banner.
SWIM, Abena Essah Bediako
(Poetry, film and music)
MAN WITH A GUITAR, Isha Patwa
(Oil on canvas)
More from Toni
‘I am a self-taught artist with an educational background in medical neuroscience so I would describe myself as a Neuroscientist too, currently working in the area of mental health. I am also passionate about expressing mental health in art especially having had a lived experience. Art has helped me to discover, understand and heal myself.
I would describe my style as a combination of surrealism and expressionism. I admire the works of Edvard Munch and Frida Kahlo. I use intense colours and skin tones often inspired by my African background to express feelings, emotions and mental states. With regards to the direction of my art, I am simply going with the flow and enjoying every bit of the process. I guess findin my art audience is a bit challenging. A dream would be to have my work displayed at the Bethlem Museum of the Mind.’