M.A.D. art – making a difference
Posted Friday 24 August 2007
Leading mental health charity Mind invites you to celebrate its 60th anniversary at the opening of an exciting new art installation M.A.D. art - making a difference on Saturday 1 September at 11:45am. The installation showcases the creative artworks of nearly 300 mental health service users and survivors and will be on display at The Dray Walk Gallery in London from Saturday 1 to Sunday 9 September.
M.A.D. art - making a difference aims to increase public understanding of mental health issues by taking visitors on a journey through mental distress and the psychiatric system. It's an interactive experience where visitors will embark on their own unique journey. Guests are invited to create their own self-portrait as their passport, to take different paths to explore the installation, to collect souvenirs along the way and to write postcards about their journey.
Award winning independent artist and filmmaker Monika Dutta, has co-ordinated the hundreds of paintings, sculptures, videos and poetry that have been contributed. She said:
"The installation uses the metaphor of a journey. It unites representations of individual journeys through mental distress and journeys through the mental health system. Many of the contributions have been included in their original format to give viewers the opportunity to experience these expressions in the raw and with minimal intervention."
"A focus for the physical form of the installation has been the ephemeral and intangible nature of the issues addressed in many of the artworks. There is such a fantastic talent on show, so thank you to all the contributors."
One of the contributors to the installation is self-taught artist Philippa King, aged 26. She began suffering from mental health problems at a very early age and was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder six years ago. Philippa, who lives in Buckinghamshire, is unable to work due to the severity of her mental distress and spends most of her time painting. She said:
"This is a great opportunity for those suffering with mental disorders to show the world their ability to produce high quality, innovative and inspirational pieces of art. It makes us more 'human' in a world that tends to see us as monsters. As a sufferer of severe mental illness, I think it is a real help to give a realistic picture to the general public of what sufferers like me are - ordinary people just with extraordinary experiences."
Philippa's contributions to the installation include 'Thought Broadcasting', 'When the Wall Bleeds', 'A Head with Voices', and 'Voices'.
Mind Chief Executive Paul Farmer said:
"The M.A.D. art installation gives visitors an insight into what it's like to live with mental health problems. We hope that people will view each piece with an open heart and mind and will leave with a greater understanding and awareness about mental distress."
Mental health activist Peter Beresford who has been the driving force behind the project and led the steering group, said:
"This installation is an important statement that we as mental health service users and survivors have something vital to say and something vital to offer. Whether we are lonely, stigmatised, scapegoated or stereotyped, we have a real contribution to make and we want to make it."
"When I originally had the idea of a survivor-led installation bringing together our ideas, visions and experience, I have to say, it never occurred to me that we couldn't do it. I believe the installation highlights that such confidence in survivors is justified and I just hope that it will help to spread this understanding and confidence much more widely among the public."
M.A.D. art - making a difference is supported by the Lankelly Chase Foundation and Artpoint, the leading public arts company for the South East. From the outset, the project has been led by a group of people who have direct experience of mental distress. Over 50 service users and survivors from diverse backgrounds were consulted on ideas for the theme of the installation.
Notes to Editors
- M.A.D. art - making a difference will open on Saturday 1 September at 11:45am. There will be live dance performances, poetry readings and live animation work. There will also be an opportunity to interview Monika Dutta and some of the service users who have contributed their artwork to the installation.
- Mind is the leading mental health charity in England and Wales. We work to create a better life for everyone with experience of mental distress.
- Please note that Mind is not an acronym and should be set in title case.