The Art of Rebellion

Directed by Libby Spears
U.S | 2021 | Documentary
79 minutes | English

“The Art of Rebellion” follows blunt, sarcastic, but ultimately lovable Lydia Emily — an LA-based street artist, activist, and single mother of three — as she defies a crippling diagnosis that threatens to take away her livelihood. Fighting against an unforgiving healthcare system while she battles the symptoms of progressive multiple sclerosis, Lydia ties paintbrushes to her failing hands to create large-scale works of creative resistance. “I can’t sing. I can’t write,” she says. “But I can paint.” Over time, the portrait of Lydia that emerges is one of a tough, tender, indomitable force of nature, plagued by hospital bills, buoyed by medication, never silenced. The film follows Lydia through several years of her life, providing viewers with a real sense of the flow of life for the artist and her clan. The kids — one of them autistic — grow older and struggle with their own identities, and Lydia rides the roller coaster of MS symptoms from good days to stays in the hospital. There’s even a love relationship that takes a surprising turn, landing Lydia in a small town outside of Austin. Throughout, the film features Lydia’s art, which is compelling and direct — just like her personality. As access to healthcare in America comes under significant threat, “The Art of Rebellion” presents the story of a woman whose life underscores just how urgently we need universal health coverage, better treatment options, prevention, and support.

Shown with
Living Music

Living Music

Directed by
Libby Spears
20 minutes
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