April - July 2022
Juanita Rea is a South African Indian Interdisciplinary Artist/Activist and Community Arts Leader living in Belfast. She is passionate about destigmatising childhood sexual trauma and mental disorders through visual art, spoken word, storytelling, music and performance. Her work is characterised by personal narrative alongside social, feminist and cultural commentaries. The harsh and hopeful realities of healing from trauma is expressed through simplicity of self-portraits, bluntness of language and playful exploration of a range of media to explore themes of body-image, intimacy, PTSD and nature as sanctuary. By being honest through her art she aims to nurture personal and collective healing and activism.
She is an intuitive creative who found sanctuary in Belfast and began sharing her lifelong art practice over Zoom in January 2021 after decades of feeling ‘silenced’ by dogmatic, patriarchal and misogynistic norms. She gained the right to live and work in the UK with a Global Talent Visa endorsement from Arts Council England in December 2021. Themes of colonialism, anti-immigrant sentiment and racism feature in her work, as she considers herself lucky to have been supported to overturn a deportation threat and compelled to use her art as a vehicle to bring attention to injustices. She is supported by ACNI on her debut album of Spoken Word and Songs, has upcoming poetry and memoir publications and is Visiting Scholar at Queen's University Belfast (QUB). Through collaboration with the ‘Performance Without Barriers’ research group at QUB, she is supported to enable access to inclusive, culturally diverse and trauma-informed platforms through the intersection of interdisciplinary arts practice, participatory programmes and technological innovation.
Her background is in Education with a B.PrimEd (2000), M.Ed (2019) and 21 years of global teaching experience. She is the founder of eduSOIL, an international non-profit arts organisation and Art Work grant awardee through Future Screens NI that enables mental health support for underserved children and adults through community arts, wellbeing and youth leadership programmes www.edusoil.com
During the residency she is working on interweaving standalone pieces into a multidisciplinary performance to tell her survivor story. This will give rise to participatory programmes that prompt dialogue and artistic responses to confront issues of sexual trauma, misogyny and gender based violence to reshape the female narrative. She is developing skills in photo editing, video and audio recording/editing, animation and is nurturing her self-belief and confidence through mentorship support and the sharing of artistic practice within the group.
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