An exhibition examining the interaction between creativity and mental health is showcasing the work of local artists on Jubilee Campus.
A collaboration between the University’s Institute of Mental Health and City Arts, Identity examines the diversity and equality of art related to mental health.
It features work by both self-taught and professionally-trained artists who have experienced mental illness.
Alongside these are pieces by health professionals and students, exploring mental illness from an alternative perspective. Biographical information is provided alongside the work, demonstrating the vital role that art can play in exploring, understanding and recovering from mental health problems.
Dr Victoria Tischler, a lecturer in Behavioural Sciences, said: “An astonishing diversity of approaches and experiences is on show. These range from raw emotion expressed through vivid colour and brushstrokes to visual depictions of phobia and childhood trauma. The dark vortex of depressive illness is represented, the process of mental breakdown and subsequent treatment, through to peace, recovery and a changed sense of self.”
Artist Charlotte Breedon is featured in the exhibition. “I have always found drawing and painting to be an excellent way of expressing feelings which I can find no words to describe,” she said. “Depression has often left me unable to communicate these thoughts, worries and fears, and so I let the pencil and brush do the talking. I feel that words cannot describe the exact nature of my art, so I leave it to each individual to interpret as you will. Maybe that way people fortunate enough to live without depression or any other mental illness may begin to understand the constant conflicts within our minds.”
Anthony Gariff’s art has also been influenced by his mental health. “My experience of mental health has, ironically, provided a rich source of inspiration for my art,” he said. “To harness some of the struggle and emotions involved, hopefully, turns adversity to positive advantage. I find my art work calming, satisfying and sometimes even healing.”
Identity is on show at the Sir Colin Campbell building, Triumph Road, Jubilee Campus, until November 2009. For more information visit www.institutemh.org.uk and www.city-arts.org.uk
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