Ruth Best







Ruth intends to combine her worlds of art, costume, and healing to produce work that engages with her audience profoundly.
Her work seeks to challenge the role of art in society, to use it as a healing technology. The aim is to create artefacts that the public can interact with that propose a counterbalance notion of the degradation of mind, knowledge, and ecology from late-capitalist structures of power. To reengage with the ancestral wisdom of the UK, to free ourselves from social and epigenetic conditioning so that we can become better ancestors.

Ruth is a multidisciplinary artist originally from Northern Ireland.
She has worked as an expert fashion and costume designer internationally for various companies and industry clients such as Giles Deacon, The Royal Court Theatre London, and the Siciliano Contemporary Ballet Company Berlin.
Ruth left the commercial fashion world in 2018 to get back to her roots of making art.
She was awarded a grant from the EU at the onset of Covid-19 to develop her oil painting practice.
Ruth has just completed a 3 month artist residency at The University of The Underground, in their ‘I want to Believe’ programme.

SUBMISSION: Ancient Future Mythologies

If one were to believe the stories presented by the European mass media, it would seem as though we are living in apocalyptic times; climate crisis, global pandemics, political and cultural upheaval rage and swell around us.
A sense of meaning has disintegrated as the gods of Media and Technology replace the Church. Our digital world is one of attention-grabbing, behaviour-modifying algorithms so exponentially effective, we don’t even realise we’re being targeted.
Christianity is ubiquitous in collective thought, telling a tale of a broken world beyond redemption; our souls are immortal entities; salvation will arrive at some far-off time; the future will take care of itself.
This narrative not only removes personal autonomy, but it also postpones The Now, thrusting the responsibility of Earth Caretaking on to our descendants, stealing from the worlds to come.
We must regain control of the stories we are telling. They are casting the future we are creating. Our ancestral stories remind us to remember. To emotionally and spiritually connect with our environment. These stories were tools used to heal and ground intricate concepts in reality.
Best chose to work with ‘Give Something Back to Berlin’. This charity works predominantly with immigrants. Being an immigrant in Germany herself, she intended to promote cathartic change on an individual level in a collaborative environment. The idea is to encourage the current generation to live their lives for the benefit of their descendants seven generations in the future.
Best has been developing a multidisciplinary approach with her studio community to conceptualise – through meditation, costume design and storytelling – a seventh-generation future ancestor as a means to acknowledge the past and reimagine the future.
Once the group has a set of visceral emissaries, we engage with the avatars through spoken word and theatre. The idea is to use Radical Imagination as a social movement, testing what emerges from and guides collective doing.
Best will take this method to her chosen institution to explore and expand the research with individuals from many backgrounds over one month to ascertain how emotionally engaging with different aspects of our heritage can provide healing stories.
Can we harness humanity’s aspects at its best – inspiration, healing and connection – to resist its worst?

To learn more about what’s behind this piece, click this link.