Kolia Bene Stanton & Philip Simon

Our peer support calls have so far been providing a dedicated time and space for us to explore and lean into wellbeing practices, strategies and philosophies. Together we explore personal adaptations as individuals and artists in the past year.

We grant permission to ourselves to deviate from our commonly agreed ‘agenda’ at times if our personal and artistic needs indicate another direction is needed, as being alive and attuned to the moment is very important.

Alongside the guidance from a compiled document of resources, there is already inherent wisdom within us and the collectives we are members of – the peer support calls are an active experience (rather than passive) and so each of us draws from collective expertise and experiences by offering own relevant stories, lived experiences, best practices and learnings from prior successes or failures.

The calls are about sitting with ideas and questions, and we acknowledge that we do not leave with “the answers”, but with vital and affirmative questions that we’re willing to continue exploring, ideating around and manifesting in some way in our practices after we finish.
About the Artists

Philip Simon
My name is Philip and I am a Brazilian-born working class, queer and neuro- divergent theatre maker living in Wales for the last seven years. I am experimenting with words, movements, improvisation and I work with mixed ability people, including those like myself who have struggled in the past, or who are struggling with mental health challenges. While works are diverse in range they have in common a close working with attention and perception and a concern with the actuality of things and of situations. Through relational processes particular to each project, I aim to quieten a sense of individual desire making way for a collective sense that extends to audiences and the material world – processes that have the capacity to open spaces for a quiet and radical politics of being, acting and producing together with human and non-human others.

Kolia Bene Stanton
Hi there! I'm Kolia, a Black Carribean non-binary visual artists rooted in the community of Haverfordwest. I have strong social engagement presence and identify as an advocate for disability justice. I am a co-founded member of the peer support group 'Community Action' gathering disabled, LGBTQI+ PoC. Recent artwork: As soon as the lockdown was lifted and hair salons opened again in England, I kept drawing portraits of clients getting their haircut at a local queer friendly hair in town (St. David's). My ambition was to capture the gender fluidity and improvisation inside a highly structured frame as a hair salon is. 

I wanted my pictures to trace my sitters' hair only: no face shape, no identifying features. And before they left, I gave them a carbon copy of the work I had done.

A traditional Look Book is usually filled with models conforming to narrow stereotypes of gender and beauty. Mine has the ambition to celebrate the hair itself, with none of these limiting associations. I try to draw attention to the interplay of relationships at work all around us, as we construct - or perform - our identities day to day.