Ambassador Rebecca Dandridge-Walker is a self-taught artist from Camden, London. Born deaf, Becky is a force of nature who has made the most of every opportunity that has come her way. As well as enjoying a successful career as an artist, Becky achieved her PGCE, qualified as a teacher and taught art to students without disabilities in London schools. She is married to photographer David Walker and has two teenage sons, Alphie and Edwin. After specializing in pottery, she started experimenting with portraiture as a creative way of channeling her stress, anxiety and physical pain while awaiting major surgery for a full hip replacement during the UK’s strict lockdown. As personally rewarding and inspiring as a year in lockdown has been in terms of helping her discover and develop new art forms, it has also been frustrating.
Her latest collection illustrates how the pandemic has impacted the mental health of the deaf community. For Becky and millions of other deaf people across the world, mandatory mask wearing has not only impeded her ability to enjoy people’s smiles and facial expressions, it has blocked her ability to lip read and interact with others. The impact of losing this most fundamental form of communication has been profound, leading to increased anxiety, loneliness and isolation on a scale that is not comprehendible to those of us who don’t share her disability. Undefeated, Becky threw herself into raising awareness of how the pandemic is affecting the mental health of everyone, but especially the deaf community through her art. Mental Ideas is proud to support such an inspirational artist and her incredible artwork. We look forward to working with her on a range of projects exploring mental health through the lens of those who are also heroically coping with lifelong disabilities.