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Ovartaci – their art and life


7 March 2020 14:00 - 15:00


Bethlem Museum of the Mind
Bethlem Royal Hospital
Monks Orchard Road
Kent BR3 3BX

Mia Lejsted, Director of the Museum Ovartaci based in Aarhus, Denmark will discuss the work of transgender artist Ovartaci, in this illustrated talk looking at Ovartaci’s life and incredible artwork.

In spite of very difficult circumstances, the artist Ovartaci can be seen as a symbol of art and creativity against all odds, and as a shining example of the wonderful potential of art to open doors that were assumed to be closed and to allow the mind and soul to wander. It could be said that art has the capacity to change lives by its transformation in stages, and the long life of Ovartaci was indeed a long succession of metamorphoses.

Ovartaci spent 56 years in the psychiatric hospital in Risskov on the outskirts of Aarhus, Denmark. They refused to take any medication as it was their firm belief that working creatively and doing things they loved would make them better. They expressed their art in many different ways throughout their lifetime – poetry, paintings, life-sized dolls, their so-called smoking phantoms and even a full-scale helicopter.

Image: Untitled, Ovartaci, gouache and papier mache.