Featured Artist Michelle Baharier

British painter Michelle Baharier presents a group of narrative paintings created to bring awareness to living with disabilities. See more of her artwork by visiting her website.


Painting of the human mind by Michelle Baharier

“All in the Mind You Take” acrylic, 175cm x 61cm


I am Michelle Baharier, an artist based in London, UK. My art practice is inspired by my everyday challenges growing up female, Jewish, working class and disabled. I create artworks that I believe need to be made and tell the stories that demand to be told. I do this via my vibrant colourful paintings, that give agency to human rights activists and ordinary people who have made a difference to the lives of many others who like me are disabled and struggle with their mental health.


Painting of disability rights activist Sue Elesgood

“Sue Elesgood” acrylic, 1m x 1m


One such is my portrait of Sue Elsegood, who chained herself to buses and famously said, “We can put a person on the moon, but we can’t get a wheelchair user on a bus.” In my painting of Sue, there are astronauts and reflected in their helmets we can see TV studios. I do like to bring a little humour to my work through the use of symbolism.


portrait of a woman in a wheelchair by Michelle Baharier

“JessThom” acrylic, 50cm x50cm


I paint intuitively, feeling my emotions. They guide and help me express my voice. The creation of art is integral to my well-being and existence. I have dyslexia and mental distress including complex post traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD). My work is informed directly by my lived experience of nightmares and changing moods. I bring to life both my melancholy, as well as ecstatic narratives.


painting of a cat by Michelle Baharier

“Francis” acrylic, 180cm x 60cm


My portraits and imaginary paintings create timeless contemporary situations. Sometimes I depict monsters, fairies and mythical creatures. My narratives include a lot of symbolism and my cats. One of the paintings of my cats I called Francis, as the artwork had a strong Francis Bacon feel. Another of my other cat paintings, Tiger, has been said to be a Paula Rego cat. With each brush stroke, I discover new ways to translate my sentiments and experiences that resonate within me onto a canvas.


Painting of a tiger cat by Michelle Baharier

“Tiger Ginger Cat” acrylic, 191cm x 61cm


My work begins with my daily observations, translated into drawings, including digital sketches, which I create using my phone. I sometimes use photography. Before the age of computers, I used to hand paint and montage my images. I have developed my own visual language, studying techniques and using colour theory. I am always learning from other artists, in order to evolve my unique artistic voice.


Painting of a woman in a wheelchair by Michelle Baharier

“Baroness Jane Campbell” acrylic, 120cm x 100cm


Each art piece I create is like a discovery. I push the boundaries, finding colours and subjects as a means of connecting with the world around me. Art, to me, is a powerful tool for communication. Each new artwork enables the viewer to bring their own carrier bag of life’s experience to the work. I hope my work makes you laugh, cry, smile and maybe even feel relieved. Someone once told me, “Your work dissolves my problems when I look at it.” These conversations with my collectors spur me on my journey of creative discovery.


abstract figurative painting of Adam and Eve by Michelle Baharier

“Eve and Adam” felt tip and acrylic, 30cm x 41 cm


I believe in the transformative power of art to inspire and change people’s preconceptions and biases. I have collaborated with many community groups and galleries to share the joy and ignite the artistic spark in others. My ambition is to leave a legacy with my art. In particular, I want to promote disabled activists in the mainstream, hanging their portraits in well known galleries and public museums, collections and keeping their legacy alive.


Artist in her studio

Artist Michelle Baharier


My practice enables me to embrace vulnerability and imperfections. And to find the unexpected by connecting with people of all backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives, bridging gaps and fostering understanding. I paint because I love it, and it’s a way of creating pleasure in my life and peace in my mind. I adore learning about the people I paint and bringing their unique stories and symbols to life in my paintings to share with others.


Michelle Baharier invites you to follow her on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.


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