Showcasing Angela’s beautiful art in community centres and and posting regularly on facebook has made me aware that you Angela and others in the community have had these physical and mental challenges are a result of a concussion. She is willing to be a leader to show that you are able to overcome these challenges and help others overcome these manifestations to produce something very beautiful to share in the world. The colours and variety of her artwork shows the different aspects of what is happening in your inner world to your audience.
Angela is an amazing artist, and a aspiring human-being. She is determined to share awareness to others about overcoming the challenges she faced post concussion, and how she is using art as her therapy. Angela reminds us that what brings us all together is simply a will to listen, understand, and embrace.
Angela I have known for over 10 years. We are both in the camera department in the Toronto Film Industry. After I found out she had a concussion through social media I was pleasantly happy to find she was doing good for the world. She was talking about her symptoms, she was sharing her stories, she became quickly the voice of a ‘concussion’ online. I had reached out to her and met her at her gallery exhibit and shared my story with her. I have suffered a concussion over 25 years ago and am still dealing with the symptoms to date. We exchanged symptoms and chatted about what attempt to try to fix each one. It was comforting and laughable knowing someone feels like how I do. I do not feel alone or judged when I speak to Angela.
Chief in Editor of Canadian Society of Cinematographer’s Magazine
I am a proud owner of multiple pieces of Angela’s artwork. My family frequently visits her basement gallery in Mississauga. I have known Angela for 15 years, we met in college while studying filmmaking. I can see her life had transformed about 4 years ago after she had a concussion. She had a new release on life and spoke about what she felt like online. I saw comments rolling in of friends who dealt with the same injury. Then she blossomed into an artist. Her artwork is astounding. Angela creates arts based on the emotions of her concussion and through that she is able to speak and spread awareness to brain injuries. Because she is incredibly unique and her symptoms are such a variety of highs and lows her artwork ranges from incredibly dark and mysterious to light and joyous.
Neuroplasticity of the brain and the impact of art practice on re-generating brain activity and recovery is a wonderful story that Angela Chao lives every day. After suffering repeated concussions at work, Angela fell into a debilitating depression, a common consequence of brain injuries. Taking a stab at creative expression through learning to paint, she has rewired her brain and become a striking arts presence in Mississauga. Angela sells and shows artworks with skills she only developed after her injuries. Her painting has had a profound effect on her wellness. Now Angela is both capably back at work and continuing to produce professional art pieces.
Executive Director of Mississauga Arts Council
We met years ago and connected immediately as we both made art as therapy for our brain injuries. We called each other Brain Buddies. Angela and I collaborated on multiple projects, videos and presentations. Angela is a force of nature whose enthusiasm for her art making and spreading concussion awareness makes her a perfect candidate for your award. Her work is inspired and beautiful and sells well.
When I was still quite sick myself, Angela went out into the world with me and using her filmmaker’s eye we created some of the first of my performance persona videos out in the world. That companionship really helped me. And when I was asked to create a solo show for the PAN AM Games at Richview Library, I asked Angela to collaborate and we created a duo show called Art Saves Lives.
Lisa Anita Wegner,
filmmaker + artist + performer + curator + programmer
I first met Angela, my husband’s colleague and friend at a time when I was in despair after my concussion in 2016. It was the worst time of my life and no one could relate to the pain of what I was experiencing with debilitating headaches and mood swings after my head injury. It was a very lonely and scary time for me, not certain what path to take on my road to recovery. Angela, much like her name was my saving grace, my angel. She gave me hope again when I first spoke to her, assuring me all would be okay. Angela too had endured not one or two concussions but three. She knew exactly my pain, my loneliness and my despair as she too experienced all the same symptoms that I had and then some. It was that point that she led me to cranial sacral therapy which despite my skepticism really did work! After 4 or 5 sessions of cranial sacral therapy. I started to feel relief as my headaches finally started to subside and I started feeling like my old self again. After comparing many notes with Angela I knew she understood my pain and was my rock and my ray of sunshine at a very dark time in my life. TBI’s I have learned, can alter your personality, give you depression, vertigo, insomnia, amongst many other symptoms but I knew I had met someone who was very kind, caring, comforting, and compassionate, someone who would see me through it all. Angela was my support system and still continues to be and when I finally met her I felt like I knew her forever. We hugged, laughed and cried together like 2 old friends. I am so thankful that I met such a wonderful person and beautiful soul who changed my life and got me the help I needed and saw me through what was a very difficult time. She offered much needed advice and even made me little make up bags to lift my spirits and make me smile again. Angela is one special lady and because of her I too am now able to help others who have suffered with TBI’s. She was a God send to me and I will be forever grateful to her.
Valerie Coulter Crimi
I have known Angela since she started to use art to cope with her first concussion. Since then I have seen her go from using her art for own therapy to using it to educate the general public and fellow concussion survivors on art’s value as a form of healing. At the same time I have seen her grow and mature as an artist. I consider it a privledge to know this wonderful woman – Debbie Henderson
I have known Angela now for a little over 2 years. My home, family, life has become so enriched since having her and her art a part of it.
I met Angela’s art before I met her. I was in a depressed state; by chance I saw a message she had posted to a friend of mine on Facebook. Her profile picture interested me so looked further. I saw a piece she had done and it just spoke to me. I could feel her struggle through this piece and in turn saw my own struggle. It just so happened that it was available for purchase. Elated, I contacted her. After my first meeting with Angela I realized we are kindred spirits; same age, ethnicity… When she showed me her in home gallery I was taken aback. She went through such debilitating trauma but managed to find an outlet in art, instead of falling deeper into depression as many I have known to have done after brain injuries. Each piece she does is a manifestation of what she sees and has to deal with everyday. Her pains, her sadness, her confusion she transfers to beautiful pieces of artistic expression. I have her paintings and her ceramic works. Being around her work is calming for me. Instead of having her struggle bottled up she’s able to transpose it, to express it. The noise in her mind is given a voice. With each piece I can see the clarity returning to her, she is in each and every brush stroke. When someone is able to bare their soul so openly; they are all masterpieces.
I have had the pleasure of being Angela’s friend for many years. I am so inspired by her. She creates beautiful pieces of artwork and uses them as a vehicle to speak about concussion awareness. I’ve seen people speak up about their own concussions because she started the conversation. She is truly a unique person with a unique gift. I’m very proud to call her my friend!
Sarah Baptist – Friend
For more works please visit my GALLERY