Born in South Africa in 1983, Alana Barrell grew up there as well as in Canada, Singapore, Ethiopia, and Brunei. Diagnosed with severe paranoid schizophrenia at the age of 15, she could no longer attend school and faced an uneven and lifelong road to recovery from multiple episodes.
Alana returned to Montreal in 2005, and thanks to treatment at the Early Psychosis and Schizophrenia Spectrum Program at the MUHC and social integration at Forward House, she regained her footing. She studied for several years at the Atelier D’Artisanat Centre-Ville where she learned stained glass, weaving, fabric painting, and more. In 2012, she entered the CAP program to hone her artistic talents, and received further instruction in sculpture, oil painting, and mixed media among other techniques.
She has presented her work in multiple group exhibits of naïve art, and the MENTAL HEALTH AMBASSADORS series is her first solo outing. Aside from her mother and sister, Alana’s local family also includes her dogs, Sadie and Merlot, and cat, Perla. She enjoys baking and knitting in her spare time.