The first of our four commissions looks at the impact of art and culture on society, through its positive effect on our health and wellbeing.

Here, artist Bobby Baker has used Shakespeare’s As You Like It to develop a short animation that explores how art informs our humanity.

Sweet are the uses of adversity by Bobby Baker

Bobby Baker's Sweet are the uses of adversity - @ All rights reserved Bobby Baker

An introduction to Bobby’s short animation:

Shakespeare’s As You Like It moves from the oppressive court to the Forest of Arden. This green world offers rural rehab, where characters gain new insights into themselves and their situation. Bobby’s animation interprets the exiled Duke’s hymn to a simpler, rustic life. This Arden is Edenic, egalitarian, and ultimately creative, with ‘tongues in trees, books in the running brooks/ Sermons in stones and good in everything’.

Turning nature into art – in ancient Arcadia, in Shakespeare’s busy London or our own hectic lives – is regenerative: in Arden, conversations expand and songs are sung, lovers meet, families reconcile, and the Duke prepares for his return to court.

About Bobby Baker

Bobby Baker is a woman and an artist acclaimed for producing radical work of outstanding quality across disciplines including performance, drawing and multi media. In a career spanning four decades she has, amongst other things, danced with meringue ladies; made a life-sized version of her family out of cake; and driven around the streets of London strapped to the back of a truck yelling at passers by through a megaphone to ‘Pull Yourselves Together.’

Baker’s touring exhibition Diary Drawings: Mental Illness and Me 1997-2008 premiered at the Wellcome Collection in 2009. The accompanying book of the same name won the Mind Book of the Year 2011. Her most recent show, Mad Gyms & Kitchens, was commissioned as part of London 2012 Unlimited for the Cultural Olympiad.

She is the Artistic Director of Daily Life Ltd, an arts and mental health organisation based in East London.

You can follow Bobby’s work on twitter @BobbytheBaker and @DailyLifeLtd