Updated: Apr 18
Alix Edwards is a versatile artist who uses the creative arts including photography, painting and words to honour the forgotten. Through her work, she brings hope and courage empowering people to once again step into light and life.
Alix is from outside London and is of British and Italian background. She has two MAs, the first from Goldsmiths in creative writing and the second from Central Saint Martin’s in photography. Adding to this, she has a BA from Oxford in English. With multiple qualifications, Alix modestly says “I am not very academic and have a low concentration span!”. Alix moved to Cardiff a couple of years ago and she says:
“Cardiff has a creative vibe. People love poetry, music and singing.”
Journeying through the arts
She started photography as a teenager but soon found it really expensive and dropped it in her 20s. When her daughter was born in 1998, Alix resumed photography to capture those precious moments. Seeing the pictures, a friend approached her to take some photographs for a magazine. Alix recalls, “I really enjoyed it but again, I did not take it that seriously as I was trying to finish my MA in creative writing while being a single parent.”
Challenges in her personal life crumbled her. Some years later, with the support of Women’s Aid, Alix joined a photography course for women survivors of domestic violence in 2007 and pursued it dedicatedly. She says:
“I found a way to say what I thought without being implicated by language.”
Alix continued photography whilst raising her children and when they were older, she completed her professional certification courses.
The above photos were taken by Alix at Risiera di San Sabba which functioned during World War II as a Nazi concentration camp. Alix visited the camp after finding old photos picturing her parents in Trieste.
Alix desired her work to create change, both with society’s response to issues and also to empower people to live a fuller life. Alix researches heavily for her work and she finds inspiration from true and credible stories. She shares that archival research is the most dominant form followed by site visits and adds that her photographic memory helps her record the finer details of places she visits.
Alix further shares that talking to people is the hardest as the events that she researches have had profound and sometimes traumatic effects on peoples’ lives. One example of her work is the series of ‘Foetus Flowers for Made In Roath’ in 2018 which gives identity to the babies born in the then Magdalene Laundries who were either given up for adoption or taken away to industrial schools.
'Fallen’ depicts women who are perceived to have fallen from ‘grace’ due to falling pregnant outside the societal norm of marriage.
Another highlight this year for Alix was her first solo exhibition in September. The exhibition was held at Cwtsh Gallery in Newport and covered four series of her work: ‘War Bride’, ‘Foibe’, ‘Foetus Flowers’ and ‘Out-Side’. The exhibition received positive response and was a very special exhibition for Alix.
Alix’s work is also influenced by her early childhood visits to churches, love for medieval paintings and early Renaissance altar pieces. Her first exhibition was held at an old church, the Tab Centre in Shoreditch. Alix shares that ‘art embraces all in a single frame’ and she felt the stronger divide between arts and science during numerous hospital visits attending to her daughter’s injury. These visits inspired her series of paintings titled ‘body-flows’ which were about putting life back into medical imaging.
When asked about her favourite artist, Alix smiles and says:
“I like all of them. If I had to pick a few, I would say Christian Boltanski for his unique way of remembering things, photographer Diane Arbus for capturing ordinary people, Tracey Emin and Gilbert and George, but pretty much all art.” She also likes Jo Spence and Helen Chadwick from Hackney and she adds “Here in Wales, I have enjoyed being introduced to Kyffin Williams who is a master with a palette knife and embodies changeability and texture of the Welsh landscape in his work. I also love David Nash and admire how he embraces scale.”
Empowering society through the arts
Alix gains further respect for her sheer determination to contribute to the community. She ran an art group in Hackney for people with lesser fortunes, helping them use art as an expression. In January 2018, she set up the ‘Company of Words’ to support all word related creative endeavours. Alix teaches art and creative writing to women at Cardiff Women’s Centre and runs writing workshops during her exhibitions. Her latest venture is hosting a monthly Open Mic night at Little Man Coffee Company of Words, which serves as a platform for writers of all levels to read their work. For these events, Alix also invites guest poets and musicians to inspire other writers. Alix shares “Little Man Coffee is a great venue because it smells of coffee which Is one of my favourite smells. It’s also very creative and everyone feels welcomed and relaxed.”
Words to inspire and Alix’s future plans
Alix firmly states “Commit to an action mindset.” She encourages all who are interested to do something each day to take you towards your goals. She adds “Even if it is a small action, do it. Do not lose touch with your goals.
"You only live once. Do some art!”
She is also a firm believer of this affirmation “Believe that you have all the resources you need and they would appear for you.”
Alix hopes to exhibit more work internationally. She did her first international exhibition at Sexposed in Los Angeles this September and was admired for challenging stereotypes. She is also writing a novel and with a smile says that the characters are taking shape. The Open Mic at Little Man Coffee have inspired her to write poetry and Alix hopes to read her work at future events.
For her next series of work, Saints, Sinners and Stories, sponsored by Arts Council of Wales, Alix has sought mentorship from Peter Finch, an acclaimed writer of a series called Real Cardiff and documentary photographer John Briggs.
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Learn more about Alix’s stories: @alixedwards
Editor: Alegria Bohem
Photographer & Content Creator: Eftychia Ntzereme
Interviewee: Alix Edwards
Location: Cardiff, UK
Date of Publication: 29|10|2019