Catalyst resident Shantella is a multidisciplinary fine artist, who uses her art to teach and inspire children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
A graduate of mixed fine art from Westminster University, Shantella has been creating spoken word via her artwork for over a decade and hopes her work can help create conversations on topics such as the environment, the female form, mental health and wellbeing. She says, ‘Art should be accessible to all, no matter your culture, status, or mental and physical abilities.’
How did it all begin?
Shantella didn’t always find school straightforward – growing up in a Caribbean community where they predominately spoke Jamaican Patois and facing obstacles such as dyslexia and dyspraxia, she sometimes found it hard to connect and communicate with others.
These obstacles are where her love of art began and why Shantella uses her talent to help people express themselves. As Shantella explains, ‘Artists don’t have to write all the time, so using multiple forms of visual artwork and language helped me relate to the world around me.’
Working in the community
Since Shantella graduated in 2013, she’s been offering mindful experiences workshops supporting individuals to express themselves through art, teaching children with ASD and behavioural challenges and the elderly in her community.
For Shantella, it’s all about creating communities, ‘I gather inspiration from the world and people around me. I want to create spaces where people can connect via visual arts and help to raise awareness of good mental health and the tools to support well-being.’
A highlight for Shantella was in 2019, where she brought together various local artists and wellness creators for a creative arts festival to provide an insight into the world of art and wellness.
She’s passionate about raising good mental health awareness and takes part in regular fundraising challenges such as the Tough Mudder challenge, where she raised over £200 for mental health charity Mind in 2021.
Find out more about Shantella’s work and teaching
Her work is currently being displayed the Fade to Black coffee shop in Hanwell.
”‘I gather inspiration from the world and people around me. I want to create spaces where people can connect via visual arts and help to raise awareness of good mental health and the tools to support well-being.’