Wen Wu: Literary Paintings at CCCA, Coventry

Wen Wu Poster

Wen Wu opens Scratch the Surface Festival 2017 , on Sunday October 1st. Scratch the Surface is a mental health arts festival that has been co-curated by Mental Spaghetti, amongst others, with festival organisers, Collective//Pod.

Be part of an ‘audience with…’ Wen Wu, on Sunday 1st October at 1:30pm, Fargo Village, Far Gosford St (Map).

Wen Wu’s exhibition in the CCCA Shed is also part of Coventry Biennial 2017, .

Wen Wu at the CCCA has been co-curated by Mental Spaghetti and Collective//Pod. Special thanks Riflemaker Soho  for loaning Wen Wu’s paintings to us!

Scratch the Surface Programme


Scratch the Surface Festival: BE Music ‘A Symphony of Bee and Man’

BE perform their critically acclaimed album ‘ONE’. © Dom Henry Photography/Wolfgang Buttress Studio.

Scratch the Surface Festival: BE Music ‘A Symphony of Bee and Man’

For the past six months, Mental Spaghetti has been working with Collective//Pod, of The Pod, Coventry, supporting the upcoming Mental Health Arts festival, Scratch the Surface: Dialogue.

The festival runs September 30th – October 10th, World Mental Health Day, and will present a varied and rolling programme of visual arts, performance, and participatory projects. Artists and full programme will be announced later in the month, but for now I’d like to announce BE Music, by internationally renowned artist Wolfgang Buttress (whose work you may have previously experienced at Kew Gardens).

A unique concert will be creating a buzz in Coventry to celebrate World Mental Health Day!

Internationally renowned artist Wolfgang Buttress and music ensemble BE are set to bring a performance with a difference to Coventry Cathedral – they will be accompanied by 50,000 bees. BE will perform their critically acclaimed album “ONE” featuring a live-streamed chorus of 50,000 bees from a hive within the Cathedral grounds.

An integral part of the performance will be hosted by a bespoke community choir engineered and choreographed by the Pod’s Collective//Pod, an artist collective derived by members with lived experience of mental ill health. The Pod is Coventry City Council’s award winning mental health resource and creative hub.

The event, being held on Saturday, October 7 at 7.30pm, is part of Collective//Pod’s annual mental health arts festival “Scratch the Surface – DIALOGUE” and is being supported by Coventry Cathedral.

BE was formed as a collaboration between Wolfgang Buttress, musicians Tony Foster, Kev Bales, Deirdre Bencsik, Camille Christel and scientist Dr Martin Bencsik, who is undertaking cutting-edge research using accelerometers embedded in beehives.

The accelerometers, devices which are sensitive to tiny vibrations, will be used to livestream the sounds from the bee hive into the Cathedral during the performance.

Visual projections, including images from the project and live footage from the hive, will also be screened, and specially-created candles scented with botanicals from the Cathedral and essential oils from the new bee hive will be used to create a multi-sensory atmosphere.

The bees are already within the grounds of the Cathedral in preparation for the event, and the hive will remain there as a lasting legacy.

“Coventry Cathedral is an amazing space with an incredible history, so it is an honour to be performing there. It will be a very moving and powerful performance, and using bees based in the grounds will give the audience a real sense that what is happening is live. We weren’t scheduled to perform this year, however when we were approached to be part of a concert celebrating World Mental Health Day it really resonated with us and it’s wonderful that we are able to contribute.”
– Wolfgang Buttress

The event is supporting Coventry’s bid to be the UK City of Culture 2021. The bid is being led by Coventry City of Culture Trust and, if successful, would bring social, cultural and economic benefits to the city.

Coventry is now on the shortlist along with four other cities, and will submit a final bid in September before the decision is announced in December.

The Very Reverend John Witcombe, Dean of Coventry Cathedral, added: “We look forward to welcoming BE and the choir for what will be a truly unique performance to celebrate World Mental Health Day. A performance featuring bees has never been staged at the Cathedral before, and demonstrates the diversity of the events that we hold. It’s also nice to have another 50,000 parishioners in the grounds, which will remain here permanently following the concert!”

“ONE” is the soundscape for Wolfgang Buttress’s multi award-winning sculpture The Hive, currently sited in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, which seeks to highlight the importance of the honey bee in the food chain and their plight as a species.

Since recording the album, BE has gone on to appear at festivals including Glastonbury, Bluedot Caught by the River and End of the Road and perform sell-out shows at Kew, Sonos Studios and St Mary’s Church, in Nottingham.

The critically acclaimed “ONE” was in the best album list of 2016 of The Guardian, Rough Trade and The Quietus.

Tickets for the concert at Coventry Cathedral are priced between £25 and £35 and are available by searching for ‘BE Play Live’ at http://www.gigantic.com: Buy Tickets Here.

More about BE can be found by visiting www.beeandman.com.

A Mental Spaghetti 2016, here’s to the future!

2016, despite its infamy as a problematic and troublesome year, brought us many positives and much pleasure in the form of large scale group exhibitions, our first ‘Spaghetti School’ residency at Free Space Gallery, and working with some of our favourite comrades on exciting new projects designed to spark debate and question closed answers.

We worked as part of the Roving Diagnostic Unit (see photo, right), for Bobby Baker’s Daily Life Ltd., which saw us carrying out performances and workshops at the William Morris Gallery, Vestry House Museum and the Wellcome collection, for the Diagnosing Diagnosis symposium to accompany their latest exhibition, ‘Bedlam’. The workshops were designed to make people think about diagnosis and what it means. Our workshop, A Diagnostic Portrait of…, had participants team up to draw large scale portraits of their patients (objects in situ at Vestry House) using only character descriptors.

Our own exhibition output last year was bumper – we had a large group show to kick things off at Menier Gallery, followed by two more exhibitions in London, co-curated with The Dragon Café and Uncooked Cultures, plus a co-curated exhibition with AIMS, at the Oxford Museum and Town Hall Gallery. Over 20o artists were promoted through these exhibitions, with many of them selling work and gaining further professional exhibitions through the exposure of our shows. To date, (since 2011), we have reached an audience of over 10,000 online, shown the work of over 200 artists to a physical audience of 1,000+, and worked closely with 10 artists to mentor and support their practice.

Workshops have covered printmaking, sculpture, collage, alternative ways of drawing, and a collaboration with artist and photographer, Catriona Gray, to deliver a series of photographic mixed media workshops at Free Space Gallery, Kentish Town. The photos below show collage work, the process of lumen exposure photography, and the final outcome of combining the lumen technique with printmaking. All workshops are free, supported by the ever excellent Kentish Town Improvement Fund and Free Space Gallery. Extra support in the form of volunteers comes from Clean Break.

Collage work by Alexandra at Spaghetti School Lumen exposure photography Lumen photo exposure combined with printmaking

2017 – onwards!

First up, January 23, we have a printmaking workshop at The Dragon Café for Broken Grey Wires. If you already know the Dragon Café, you’ll know that spaces are limited, and you must be registered with them to take part. The workshop starts at 3pm.

Next, we are over the moon to be working with the young people of Snowsfield Adolescent Unit at the South London and Maudsley Hospital. Work to start in February, and while it is only open to residents at SLaM, we will report back with our artistic endeavours.

Spaghetti School will be starting again in March, and continuing in 5 week blocks throughout the year. Keep your eye on the blog for news to come!

We’ve got loads of new artists to update you with, so make sure you are following the blog and all good social media outlets (you know the ones, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to keep up to date with who’s doing what.

Finally, Happy New Year, everyone!


Art Fair: ActionSpace & Cockpit Arts present…

What: Art Fair, £5 entry (includes entry to full Cockpit Arts Christmas Open Studios)
When: 11am – 6pm, 24 – 27 November 2016, Private View: Thursday 24, 6 – 9pm
Where: Cockpit Arts, Cockpit Yard, Northington Street, London WC1N 2NP

As part of this year’s Christmas Open Studios at Cockpit Arts, ActionSpace presents: The Out There Art Fair
As well as providing an exciting exhibition of contemporary art work, this affordable art fair also offers the opportunity for the public to take home a unique piece.

This year, Cornelia Marland is curating the exhibition. Cornelia works as a Curator, Project Co-ordinator and Workshop Facilitator. In May 2015, she founded Geddes Gallery, which is now running as a pop up gallery in and around Kings Cross London. Read about her experience as The Out There Art Fair curator in our blog here

“I was thrilled to be asked to curate the ActionSpace exhibition as part of the Cockpit Arts Christmas Open Studios 2016. This year the aim was to include as many ActionSpace artists as possible and since the art work is so wonderfully varied I thought an art fair which celebrated diversity would work perfectly”

Cornelia Marland

So save the dates!

Image: Thomas Owen‘s Artwork



Exhibition and Secret Sale – Silver Linings at The Koppel Project

What: Exhibition and Secret Sale
When: Friday 18 November 2016, 19:00 – 22:00
Where: The Koppel Project, 93 Baker Street, London, W1U 6RL

Please join us for the Silver Linings Private View at The Koppel Project, this Friday 18th November, when specially created artworks will be sold via a Secret Sale. Tickets available here.

This will be a unique opportunity to own an original artwork for a fraction of the price, whilst raising money for the arts and health charities Paintings in Hospitals and Daily Life Ltd.

The artworks for sale were created by trained and untrained, known and unknown artists.

These include designers, visual artists, sculptors, craftivists and stylists, many of whom will be joining us at the Private View, including Mental Spaghetti artists Terence Wilde, Jan Arden and Marie-Louise Plum, and Mental Spaghetti friends, Bobby Baker and Cathy Ward.

All artwork will be sold anonymously, only once purchased will the buyer discover the identity of the artist.

Tickets are £5, which includes a cocktail courtesy of our sponsor, Hendricks gin.

All artwork will be on view at the Koppel Project from 17-19 November.

Silver Linings is a collaboration between The Unseen, a luxury design house integrating biological and chemical matter into materials, psychologist and curator, Victoria Tischler and The Koppel Project. To find out more about the project and the event please click here.


Mental Spaghetti & Uncooked Culture present: One Bare Foot Square

What: One Bare Foot Square
When: Mondays only, 7 November – 19 December 2016, 12 – 8pm.
Where: The Dragon Cafe in the crypt of St. George the Martyr, London, SE1 1JA.

Mental Spaghetti is proud to be working in partnership with Uncooked Culture to bring touring exhibition One Bare Foot Square to its next world stop in London – The Dragon Café.

Everyone is welcome to attend the private view, and meet exhibiting artists, on Monday 7 November 2016, 7-8pm (exhibition is open from noon onwards). From 7pm curator and artist, Nok, will introduce the project, followed by character comedy from Catherine Goodwin aka Badwind, and spoken word from Rosemary McLeish and Gareth Hughes.

Anyone wishing to create their own square to add to the travelling exhibition should contact Nok, Uncooked Culture, uncookedculture@gmail.com, or speak to us directly at The Dragon Café private view.

Artwork ©Rosemary McLeish


‘ONE BARE FOOT SQUARE’ is a collaborative artist-led travelling mosaic canvas – the individual artworks uniting to form one large wall piece.

Traveling from its first stop at Amsterdam Outsider Art Gallery, at The Hermitage museum – The Netherlands (30 July -13 August 2016), the travelling mosaic has arrived at its second stop, hosted at The Dragon Café, London, co-curated by Marie-Louise Plum of Mental Spaghetti.

Artists create a one foot square canvas, ultimately forming a larger piece of art, with variable dimensions depending on the exhibition space. Outsiders, Neo-Outsiders & artists from all other stops, will be contributing their creations as the ‘uncooked’ boundary-crossing tour progresses.

The mosaic canvas projects a wide spectrum of experience, weaving together each artist’s life journey; reflecting on their memories, hopes, thoughts & imagination through their diverse practices, from illustration, painting, stencil to mixed-media.

One Bare Foot Square’s destinations are led by participating artists, who initiate which country it will be exhibited next. Before the project departs from each stop, local artists are encouraged to add art in the next location, with their own one foot squares on canvas.

Artwork exhibited at The Amsterdam Outsider Art Museum, ©Uncooked Culture


78 International Artists living/working in 15 different countries

Isis Nedloni – Netherlands, Julia Sisi – France, Dan Casado – France, Jim Lockton – UK, Louis Vuittonet – USA, Ian Pyper – UK, Marie-Louise Plum – UK, Alison Silva – USA, Henk Koekenbier – Netherlands, Gustav Glander – Spain, Jim Meehan – USA, Rinaldo Klas – Suriname, Dion Hitchings – USA, Kit-Ling Tjon Pian Gi – Suriname, Evgen Copi – Slovenia, Vasko Vidmir – Slovenia, Edward Woltemate, Jr – USA, Josianne Ishikawa – Japan, Ascension Lorente-Huguet – UK, Kobina Wright – USA, Werens Puig – Spain, Kate Bauen – Switzerland, Carlo Keshishian – UK, Brian Gibson – UK, Rufai Zakari – Ghana, Stephen Judges – USA, Risja Marie Henriëtte Steeghs – Netherlands, Shaundell Horton – Suriname, Jenny Hartley – New Zealand, Lynn Todd – New Zealand, Andrew Stahl – UK, Chakkrit Chimnok – Thailand, Susan Biebuyck – USA, Timothy Campbell – USA, Sancha Sullivan – Suriname, Zoran Milavera – UK/Macedonia, Mahlia Amatina – UK, Tontxi Vazquez – UK, MaryAnn McCarra-Fitzpatrick – USA, Nick Stavrides – USA, Renée Rey – USA, Patrick Jude – USA, Mow – UK, Christy Symington- UK, Hiroko Nakajima – Japan/UK, Tom McGill – USA, Chris Czainski – UK, Paul Czainski – UK, Erin O’Rourke – UK, Kristen Woodward – USA, Liz Parkinson – Australia, Bert Schoonhoven – Netherlands, Carla van Slooten – Netherlands, Pam Santi – USA, Jeff Roland – France, Jade Chorkularb – UK, Gareth Hughes – UK, Sandra Mendelsohn – Netherlands, Sejin Park – South Korea, Yvonne Mabs Francis – UK, Miranda Sky – UK, Helen Roeten – Netherlands, John Adkins – USA, Edward Kingsbury III – USA, Eva Preston -USA, Jeroen Rolf Schoonhoven – Netherlands, Rosie McLeish – UK, Florain Haeck – Netherlands, Ezra Swaanswijk – Netherlands, Judith McNicol – UK, Cathy Ward – UK, Yairs Agam-Aa – Netherlands, Norbert de Jong – Netherlands, P.M. Jordense-Michalski – Netherlands, Ralf Kokke – Netherlands, Jason Hankins – USA, Sophie M. Adams – UK & Chutima Kerdpitak(Nok) – UK.

Chutima Kerdpitak (Nok), Uncooked Culture (www.uncookedculture.com / uncookedculture@gmail.com)
Marie-Louise Plum, Mental Spaghetti (www.mentalspaghetti.org /mentalspaghetti@gmail.com)


Event: Late Spectacular at William Morris Gallery

What: Late night participatory arts event.
When: Thursday 13th October, 2016.
Where: William Morris Gallery

Mental Spaghetti is really excited to be part of the Daily Life Ltd takeover of William Morris Gallery, Thursday 13th October, 2016.

Mental Spaghetti founder, Marie-Louise Plum, will be one of seven artists involved in the event, leading Diagnostic Expeditionary Tours of the gallery itself.

More information…

For one night only Daily Life Ltd will be taking over the William Morris Gallery Late to present

Thursday 13th October 2016
6:30 – 10:30pm,
Free Entry
William Morris Gallery, E17 4PP

Join Bobby Baker and fellow artists in their epic quest to diagnose the William Morris Gallery!

This event is a combination of performance, music, poetry and participatory art. ROVING DIAGNOSTIC UNIT aims to widen cultural participation whilst inspiring conversations about mental health.


Artists Marie Louise Plum, Sara Haq and Kate Rolison will lead Diagnostic Expeditionary Tours of the gallery, using routine psychiatric methods to ask questions:

Marie Louise Plum is a multidisciplinary artist. She draws, paint, collage and collect, sculpt, make objects, installations, and present engaging art performances. Marie is the founder of arts organisation, Mental Spaghetti, supporting and developing art from the margins, working with individuals at risk of social exclusion.

Sara Haq is an artist, photographer and creative workshop facilitator, based in London, UK. Her work always reflective of personal experience and often explores intercultural relationships and the interactions between art and social change.

Kate Rolison is also known by her internet alias Poesie Grenadine; a broken French phrase which roughly translates as purple prose. A firm believer in Craftivism (the art of craft and activism), she explores mental health activism and feminism through workshops and in her own practice.


In collaboration with interactive theatre-makers Coney will be the Emotion Police Emancipation Programme:

Rhiannon Armstrong makes engaging artworks for and with those who do not necessarily think of themselves as art audiences, under the lifelong series title Instructions for Empathetic Living. Rhiannon is an associate artist of Coney, whose technology she is using for her work with the Roving Diagnostic Unit.


Renowned poet Sean Burn plays with words and ideas around mental health, using language to open up the subject and challenge ownership of narratives:

“Hi, Sean Burn, here. I play with words, sometimes conventionally & sometimes un, believing we first owned our voices before they were mostly stolen, languages our first battlefield.   Now I write/perform/make outsider art. I have an international reputation, active involvement in disability arts, nationally, and am part of Mad Studies North-East.”


Participate in a workshop where you make personalised ‘power pants’ to help you deal with the challenges of everyday life:

Mistry’s practice explores inventive approaches and methodologies in the making of performance, live works and social practices. Her movement practice is focused on making experimental enquiries about being in process with the body and unpredictable choreographies.


Music comes from singer songwriter Dylan Tighe who, throughout the evening, performs segments from his first and second albums:

Dublin singer/songwriter, performer and theatre-maker. Dylan, was described by the Irish Times as “framing reflective music with remarkable eloquence” His radio-drama for RTÉ ‘Wabi-Sabi Soul’, inspired by his own experience of psychiatric diagnosis, was nominated for the Prix Europa radio prize.


Artist and performer Selina Thompson brings her inimitable style to host the infamous Daily Life Ltd Cure All Karaoke:

Selina Thompson is an artist and performer based in Birmingham. Her work is playful, participatory and intimate, focused on the politics of identity, and how this defines our bodies, lives and environments.