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The Art of Rebellion

  • 1h 19m
  • Libby Spears
  • United States
  • 2022

Artist, activist, and single mother, Lydia Emily, defies a crippling diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis with her will to survive.

The Art of Rebellion follows LA-based street artist and activist, Lydia Emily, recognised for her socially conscious, hand-painted murals that beautify neglected buildings. Not the typical profile of a street artist, Lydia is 40-something and a single mother of two kids, one of whom is autistic. Lydia also has Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a progressively debilitating disease that threatens her livelihood.

Lydia’s home is a haven for both her daughters. The youngest, Coco, is preoccupied with Russian geopolitics and editing Wikipedia, as autism expresses in surprising moments of genius. Dorothy navigates adolescence as she explores art and activism through collaborative works with Lydia. New complications arise in Lydia’s health as her MS relapses begin to increase. Beset by intensifying symptoms, Lydia struggles to complete a series of paintings for a solo show that could help her pay mounting medical bills.

Fighting against an unforgiving healthcare system, Lydia pushes against her painful symptoms. She uses shoelaces to secure paintbrushes to her hands as they lose their grip, to complete the large-scale works of creative resistance for her show, declaring “I dare you to make this my last year, I love my life - try and take it from me.”

If you purchase the film, you will be invited to our interactive Virtual Hub for a digital Q&A with Director Libby Spears, Producer and Editor Sam Hook, and subject Lydia-Emily Archibald on the 6th of June at 3:30PM.

Click here for more information about Doc Edge Festival Virtual Hub.


Category “Fearless” presented by Mindfood

WATCH THE Q&A here - recorded from a live session in our Virtual Hub


Libby Spears


Sam Hook



Closed Captions [CC]



United States

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