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Artist Rachel Gadsden wins Unlimited commission

  • Date: 2 February 2011
  • Area: National, South East
woman standing in front of painting

Rachel Gadsden painting at Liberty Festival 2010, Trafalgar Square. Credit: Photograph: Hamish Roberts

A project that places disability and South African women living with HIV and AIDS on the international stage of London 2012 has received almost £60,000 from the Unlimited commission. 

Unlimited is a programme that celebrates arts and culture by disabled and Deaf artists by supporting them to produce high quality art and to forge new partnerships with mainstream organisations. 

Rachel Gadsden's Unlimited Global Alchemy brings together South African artist and activist Nondumiso Hlwele and the Bambanani Women's Group in Cape Town to make a fantastic new work that celebrates their 'shared' survival.

Her project was one of the 13 commissions announced in January by the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, the UK Arts Councils and the British Council, who awarded £820,000 for a second round of Unlimited commissions. 

Rachel says: 'Unlimited Global Alchemy represents a tremendous challenge. Hearing that my application has been successful was an incredible moment, but calling Nondumiso in Cape Town to tell her the news was the greater pleasure. The Unlimited commission is a once in a lifetime opportunity.' 

Rachel is known for her work at Stoke Mandeville Sports Stadium in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, the birthplace of the Paralympics. She has been working in the south east for the past six years. 

Rachel will travel to South Africa in September 2011 to film and make new work, which she will show in the township. 

The project culminates in 2012 with a film, an exhibition and a live multi-media theatrical visual performance produced by Rachel Gadsden, choreographer Mark Smith and Nondumiso Hlwele in partnership with the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge, and Artsadmin

Applications for the third and final round of Unlimited commissions are now welcomed from disabled and Deaf artists or disability arts groups wishing to create high quality work to form part of high profile showcase events across the UK.

The deadline is 18 April 2011. For more information, please see: