Annie Fandangoe, AKA The Fandangoe Kid, is starting a conversation.

Her art creates platforms for open conversations about things western society finds difficult to discuss, complex and sensitive subject matters that British reserve often leaves ignored.

Her narrative-driven work has included stories about mental health, the important of removing restrictive gender constructs, and tales of love and loss. A recent powerful and thought provoking installation is the 16-metre narrative about strength, and a challenging society’s gender stereotyping created for the Turner Prize events in Hull City of Culture 2017.

Annie lost almost all of her family in 2011, which “totally derailed” the artist, leaving her “dead inside for a long period of time“. Her creativity has been a way to express herself, a cathartic exploration of her emotions.

Messages include “celebrate your strength“, “all feelings are valid“, and “the time is now… get fucking bold“. Annie’s aim is to spark conversations and champion self-love and confidence with her art, and her art therapy practices help young people address difficult issues and give them a safe space to explore their emotions.

Art therapy uses visual art, music, poetry or story telling as a trigger for people to express themselves and issues they find difficult in a way that doesn’t rely on verbal communication. Art therapists can obtain clues that reveal the cause, impact, recovery and progress of the artist’s distress, as it’s mapped out in their creations.

Art therapy has been instrumental in helping children release the monsters that plague them, and has been used to counsel people through abuse, neglect and interpersonal violence.

The value of art therapy comes from the cathartic expression using images, and also immersion in the creative process, allowing the artist to express focus on their emotions within a safe space. It is particularly valuable for people who struggle with verbal communication – it offers a way to express without using words. It also reaches beyond cultural limitations.

America psychologist Rollo Reese May said: “In all creativity, we destroy and rebuild the world, and at the same time we inevitably rebuild and reform ourselves.”

Annie Fandangoe’s work “Hardcore Matriarch” states: “Know your heart, know your head. Introduce them warmly to each other and let them start making plans for a happy life.”

Seems like good advice to us.

The Fandangoe Kid is hosting a workshop that covers the topic of gender stereotypes on Thursday 12 July at 3rd Rail Print Space in Peckham Levels.

Follow Fandangoe Kid on Instagram or check out her portfolio on her website.