Michelle Baharier is a critically acclaimed multidisciplinary participatory visual artist. She lives and works in South London and exhibits internationally across the UK, USA, Europe, and the Middle East. Artistic Director/Founder and CEO of the charity CoolTan Arts, run by and for disabled people, Michelle has also won the coveted Julian Sullivan Award. 

Studied at Slade School of Fine Art University College London UK, Exeter College of Art and Design UK, The University of the Arts, Hochschule für Bildende Künste Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main Germany, and Watford College of Art and Design UK. 

AKA @dyslexicRant on twitter

@bahariermichelle on Instagram

The most emotionally touching piece of art Ive ever seen…

St Martin’s School of Fine Art lecturer, Anne Tallentire hails Michelle Baharier’s work

“The making of the work is the part that excites me. I have made sinks that talk and water that gets sets on fire. My work happens outside and inside of the gallery,  such as “Shop Till You Drop”, at Peckham Women’s Centre, or “Lenons On Sale Again”, in Jaffa Tel-Aviv, Israel. I’ve collaborated with Daniel Baharier (an artist and also my brother) on an installation, where we took over a co-education centre that taught both Arabs and Israelis, coinciding with the death of Yitzhak Rabin.

Moreover, I run Psychogeography walks in the style lead by the Flaneuse ‘Women Walk the City’ – as founder of CoolTan Arts, I lead the Largactyl Shuffle.”

Baharier is Artist in Residence at Sharp Gallery, Brixton, run by the Maudsley hospital. Her work was exhibited at The Museum of the Mind 2019/20 where the piece Miss Havisham‘s wedding dress was put on show.

Miss Havisham
Miss Havisham is a character in Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations.

To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March 2020, Baharier exhibited at Art Academy in ‘WOMEN FOR ALL SEASONS’, and ran a “Women’s Walk” on Women’s Art Activism and Provocation: The Personal is Political – Bring Your Handbag or Rucksack.

Womens Walk
The women’s walk takes in historical places and sculptures of interest. Why did Boudicea or Boudica take on the Romans? Photograph by Michelle Baharier

Her work features as part of ‘Mad Covid Diaries.’

She is a published poet with her collections available in local libraries nationally and has recently been a feature poet at Survivors Poets in March 2020 alongside being published in “What if we can’t save the earth?” by Siren Poets.

Baharier is featured in ‘The Postcard Project, 2020′

Her work was chosen to be exhibited in Vigo this year as part of Covid exchange.

My Cat lock down
During the first lock down my cat Tiddles sat outside, looking in this is my painting. Acrylic on canvas.

Baharier also publishes blogs regularly for Disability Arts Online. National Survivors Network funded a series of live streaming and psychogeography and videos in 2020.

Baharier’s videos diaries include poetry and performance and are available on YouTube. 

Staute of Libity
When you feel blue, tears swell up, the depression and anxiety kicks in. We start falling apart. Acrylic Painting on Canvas by Michelle Baharier.

Baharier has worked with Professor Sharon Morris from Slade School of Fine Art. Together they curated the first artwork on the telephone commissioned by Projects UK Newcastle called ‘Sound Moves Archives,’ which was held at the Tate. In addition, Baharier has worked in the Sound Archive held by The Women Artists’ Slide Library. Her work can be found in Shape’s Disabled Artists Archive and at the London Bough of Southwark’s Archive where work from CoolTan Arts is held.

At CoolTan Arts, Art Angel commissioned a walk in regards to Van Gough’s house: At the Crossroads with Vincent: A Sound Piece You Could Take as a Walk: http://www.vangoghwalk.org/2014/02/we-are-very-excited-about-cool-tan-arts.html

At the Haywood Gallery, CoolTan was commissioned to make a sound piece made in response to the exhibition “Walking in My Mind” at the Hayward Gallery in Summer 2009. https://www.duncanchapman.org/past/creatures-lost-in-time-hayward-gallery-2009

Baharier has a number of commissioned murals. As lead artist, she completed collaborations with artist ‘Vision,’ an arts group comprised of adults with learning disabilities. This resulted in the Hoxton’s Art Wall, celebrating the 2017 World Para-Athletics Championships. The Portraits featured Para-Athletics, Dame Tanni Grey-ThompsonDavid Weir, Ade Adepitan, Jonnie Peacock, Kadeena Cox, and Ellie Simmonds.

Vison World Para Athilettics
Made for Hoxton Art Wall. Produced with Vision, an arts group of adults with leaning disabilities. Baharier was commissioned to do the portraits of Dame, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Ellie May Simmonds, OBE, Kadeena Cox, MBE.

Sharp Gallery

Baharier also regularly publishes blogs for Disability Arts Online. National Survivors Network funded a series of live streaming videos in 2020.

Baharier worked collaboratively with ‘Sisters of Frida’ to produce a banner for the Votes for Women. 

She is an Ambassador for Outside In and her work is hosted in one of their galleries.

As Founder, Artistic Director, and CEO of CoolTan Arts for over 25 years, Baharier grew the organisation from an old suntan lotion factory, a squatted social center in Brixton, to user-run disabled peoples charity working with 3000 people face-to-face a year, running participatory arts. CoolTan Arts won the 2015 GST Impact awards for helping people with mental distress improve their lives.

Baharier set up and delivered a number of public art projects, The Largactyl Shuffle, the concept of psychogeographical walk public performances named after Chlorpromazine, one of the first antipsychotic drugs, whose side effects included deterioration of motor functions that often manifest in a slow shuffling walk hence Largactyl Shuffle Walks.

Image from Time Out magazine online.

Baharier and Largactyl Shuffle walks were commissioned by the Southbank Centre to deliver a series of 4 Mile Community Legacy Walks from Hackney to the Olympic Park for the Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival for 2011 and 2012 London Olympics.

She also ran the Science Museum’s year long ‘Staying Up Late’ events with walks though the Medical Gallery exploring objects used in mental health. This event was ran in conjunction with Southwark Council’s Public Health department, bringing art to new audiences and new places.