Tag Archives: art therapy

Borderline Arts launches ‘Enigma’

Art venture helps “break down significant stigma and shame surrounding an illness that kills 1 in 10 of those diagnosed” says project founder.

Vulnerable residents battling Borderline Personality Disorder have found new hope through an unprecedented art project in Derby, founded by an individual who has been close to losing her life to the illness several times.

Local Charity ‘Borderline Arts’ is excited to launch ‘Enigma’ – an art exhibition aiming to break down stigma surrounding a severe mental health condition called Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This exhibition is made up of artwork created by people with BPD. The artists have worked with support artists from the local community to help create images, paintings, sculptural pieces and poetry. The artwork expresses many aspects of living with BPD which the artists felt important to share. There is also a collaborative interactive, installation piece made by several of the artists.

Sarah Eley (who founded Borderline Arts) said ‘Borderline Arts began as a small idea of using the artwork that I’d created to express how it felt to live with BPD to somehow help others understand the condition more. I’d experienced so much stigma because of having a diagnosis of BPD and all that went with it. I was often scared to seek help when (especially medical help), as many of the attitudes I experienced caused me to leave feeling more unwell than before. Many times, this lead to further self harm or attempted suicide. 1 in 10 people with BPD die from suicide and I believe that this number would be considerably less if people felt they were able to access support when they need it, without being judged.’

After exhibiting her own artwork at Artcore’s Gallery in Derby, Sarah felt like she had found a voice and she wanted to give other people with BPD the opportunity to do the same. ‘Enigma’ is a direct result of that. Taking part in this exhibition has been an empowering experience for many of the artists, who can often feel very isolated and misunderstood: ’Being involved in this exhibition gave me the chance to use creativity to understand my condition more. I got to meet others with the same diagnosis, sharing feelings and ideas. Being a part of the Enigma exhibition has enabled me to to become less isolated and to feel part of a team, whilst also giving me a chance to help achieve our common goal of raising awareness and reducing the stigma surrounding BPD’.

Steve Trenchard (Chief Executive of Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust) will be opening the launch evening on Monday 20th April from 7-9pm at Quad, Market Place, Derby. Wine and nibbles will be available to purchase from the Bar. The exhibition will remain open until 25th should you be unable to make the opening evening, but still wish to visit the exhibition at another time. The opening hours are: Tuesday 21st to Saturday 25th: 12am – 8pm. More information can be found on our website: www.borderlinearts.org.uk or by emailing us at admin@borderlinearts.org.uk

The Daily Life Ltd needs YOU!

Our friends and comrades in art and mental health, The Daily Life Ltd, led by Bobby Baker (not a man), have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for 3 new animations starring Dr Bobby, Roxy and Rudi. Together they will spread the word about their fantastic arts & mental health programme.

Can you help? Here follows a short broadcast from Dr Bobby…

And now some more information from the Daily Life Ltd. team…
Hello! Team Daily Life Ltd here – thanks for stopping by. We’re an arts organisation based in Stratford, East London. Our Artistic Director, Bobby Baker, is well known as an artist and as an ‘expert by experience’ of the mental health system. Our whole mission is to create powerful art that changes the way people think about mental health. We want as many people as possible to see surprising and beautiful work by artists with personal experience of mental health issues – and we need your help.

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About this project: who we are and what we do…


The Roxy and Rudi Roadshow Local Wellbeing Research Unit, Shuffle Festival (2013) Photograph: Hydar Dewachi

Having produced Bobby’s art for years, we are now beginning to present work by many more artists who have lived experience of mental distress. This year we’ve raised money to tour exciting work by a group of talented poets, performers, artists and musicians in East London.

Here are some of our amazing lineup:


Selina Thompson, Chewing the Fat (2014)


Laura Jane Dean, This Room (2015)


Simon Raven, Cool Party (2014)

We’ll also be presenting work by artists from the wonderful Outside In at Pallant House Gallery and Bethlem Gallery:

Bethlem Gallery website. Screenshot: February 2015


Outside In National, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (2012) Photograph: Jason Hedges

We’re touring to East London venues like the pioneering Bromley By Bow Centre, Kingsley Hall, Shuffle Festival, and Queen Mary University, London.
Plus we’re planning another stunning Lightbox installation this autumn, building on the success of exhibition in Dalston last year – but this time in Newham.


The Expert View, Lightbox installation, Dalston Square (2014) Photograph: Andrew Whittuck

What we want to do now – with your help
The art is all sorted, as you can see, but now we need to make sure people know about it – locally and online. We’re a minuscule company, so we’re asking for your support to pay for our creative collaborators (Kate Bland, Cast Iron Radio, Pete Baynton, Radish Pictures, Bobby Baker aka ‘Dr Bobby,’) to help develop three more ‘Promo Cartoons.’

Thanks to Pete, Kate and the rest of our collaborators working with Bobby, our tiny, terrific and talented Roxy and Rudi Marketing Team have already been on the road on their mission to SAVE HUMANITY! Check them out on YouTube. As well as promoting new work, the cartoons are also a way of recording our activities and sharing them with people far beyond our East London stomping ground – Roxy, Rudi and Dr Bobby are a multitasking team!

A bit of background information

For those of you who don’t know us yet, and why we have such a passion for the arts and mental health, here’s a word from our Artistic Director Bobby Baker, aka ‘Dr Bobby:’


Bobby Baker, How to Shop (1993) Photograph: Andrew Whittuck

“Hello! I’m an artist and the Artistic Director of Daily Life Ltd. We’re a small Arts Council funded arts organisation based in East London.

I’ve been an artist for 40 years or so, making lots of work about daily life, being a woman, bringing up children, power, that sort of thing …How to change the world, basically.
Between 1997-2008 I had a period of serious mental ill health. I made lots of work about this experience. I had all sorts of treatment – some of it good – and in the end I got better. I’m now proud to describe myself as an expert by experience of the mental health system, and I’ve been Tip Top up Top for a decade or more. But there’s a lot of ignorance, fear and prejudice about mental health out there. This affected me very badly and still does, as it does others. Mental health is a subject that provokes strong feelings – people can get shouty, or boring, or bored or even more confused.

So that’s where the art comes in!

We know that powerful art changes lives and transforms thinking. We want more people to see great work by many people – many more voices, many experiences. We’d love your support to make the The Roxy and Rudi Roadshow Cartoons, so we can promote our fantastic 2015 programme to a wider audience.”

-Thanks, Bobby!


Bobby Baker, Pull Yourself Together, Trafalgar Square, London (2000) Photograph: Hugo Glendinning

Okay, folks, final word from team Mental Spaghetti – go help our buddies Bobby Baker and The Daily Life Ltd. raise what they need to animate their adventures! Thank you!

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Where is the Work in the Work of Art?

Opening Event: 19 February, 3 – 5pm
Exhibition continues: 20 February – 10 April
Opening times: Wed – Friday, 10am – 5pm
Gallery and museum open the first and last Saturdays of the month 10am – 5pm

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“A pioneering arts and museum space at the heart of Bethlem Royal Hospital opens to the public on February 19th. Where is the Work in the Work of Art? is our first exhibition in the new gallery. This inaugural exhibition reveals some of the stories, processes and structures behind the art of a diverse group of artists who are connected to the gallery. We will be asking: what takes place before, during and after the making of an artwork? And how are artists enabled to do what they do?

Where is the Work in the Work of Art? takes its lead from our recent Bethlem Salon by the same name. It looks at art’s relationship to labour from several perspectives: cultural theory, art practice and occupational therapy. The aim is to reach beyond art as an object and identify what might be called the ‘bi-products’ of the art process.

What work is for artists and what it could be has been of long debate. Do we consider the making of art to be work when that work is enjoyable? Is it work when the outcome does not take the form of a tangible finished object? Is it work when the work is of second nature to the artist and fully integrated into daily life? Or does the work lie in the minds of the audience, who after encountering the artwork, carry into the world with them new ideas, questions, feelings or forms?

When asked about the title for his recent exhibition at the Bethlem Gallery, The silence of sawn wood, artist P.J Baird said: “It indicates a happening, a poetic image. As you view the work you imagine the process involved, like a form of synesthesia.” Although often seen as a strictly controlled environment to reside in, the hospital can be an enabling context for the production of art; artists may have more time and freedom to work. When it comes to the reception and interpretation of artwork, the hospital context is much more problematic.

Artworks and works of art are predominantly discussed as finished objects viewed through the valorising contexts of galleries and museums. This exhibition looks at work that is not always visible, work that is present in process, failure, experimentation, advocacy and the many other aspects of work that forms and surrounds artistic practice. By making visible some of the usually unseen aspects of artists practice, we hope to give further weight to the work of some of the most dynamic, adaptable, resistant and innovative artists that we know.”

– Sam Curtis, Curator

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The exhibition programme offers several lenses through which to consider artist practice and specific works:

Encounter and dialogue
What kind of encounter takes place between an audience and artists practice? How do artists set up situations for dialogue whether intentionally or unintentionally?

Working under constraints
Whether it’s within the rigorously controlled environment of a psychiatric hospital or the limiting space of home, the exhibition looks at how these artists adapt and evolve their practices to survive and flourish within specific constraints.

Art as a tool
The exhibition will explore how some of the artists use art as a personal tool, arming their practice with a specific use- value, a function in the artists ability to craft his or her own identity.

Methodology and process
Uncovering some of the complex and refined methodologies and processes of artists can tell us something about their focus, their skill and their persistence.

Time
Does more time devoted to making art have a positive effect on an artist’s practice? The Bethlem Gallery acknowledges the importance of time, how time aids the establishing of mutual relationships of trust and respect with artists and the creation of a safe space where together we can experiment artistically.

Support Structures
How are artists enabled to continue practising? What support structures, both formal and informal create the specific conditions for their practise to take place?

Where is the Work in the Work of Art? features:
• Contributions by Albert, Clive, Dan Duggan, Daniel, George Harding, Liz Atkin, Matthew, Max Reeves, OccupationalTherapy Department staff and patients, Patient X, P. J. Baird, Raymond, Rodney, Ronald, Roydell, Steph Bates, Sue B, and Sue Morgan.

• Interviews and documentation of artistic process

• A mapped walk around the hospital site where visitors can discover an evolving array of artist interventions and

remnants of practice.

• An artist-created Wood Library situated within the diverse woodlands on the hospital grounds, open for reading,

borrowing, referencing and workshops.

• A Workshop for Unrealised Projects where unfinished or failed projects will be collectively explored and then remade through shared proposals

• The Bethlem Salon – Making and Unmaking – where invited speakers will discuss art, making and the production of subjectivities within the context of an exhibition showing the artworks resulting from of the Workshop for Unrealised Projects

• A series of talks and workshop to be announced on the gallery website

Address: The Bethlem Gallery, Bethlem Royal Hospital, Monks Orchard Road, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3BX
Travel: Nearest British Rail: Eden Park / East Croydon

Contact: Beth Elliott, Gallery Director, 020 3228 4101 • Email: thebethlemgallery@gmail.com • Website: http://www.bethlemgallery.com

The Inner Self: Drawings from the Subconscious at CGP London


Nick Blinko

‘The Inner Self: Drawings from the Subconscious’ is a group show of the work of seven Outside In artists all living within Greater London and working on the theme of the subconscious. Predominantly black and white in colour and using drawing as the primary medium, the works were selected from 154 submissions to Outside In’s open call out earlier in the year.

The selectors included CGP London Director Ron Henocq; Vivienne Roberts, Curator at the Julian Hartnoll Gallery; Outsider Artist Nick Blinko; and Outside In Manager Jennifer Gilbert. From these seven artists, one will be selected by Vivienne Roberts to receive a solo show at the Julian Hartnoll Gallery in Central London in November 2014. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of events, talks and workshops organised by Outside In and its London partner organisations.

Work by the Outside In artists will sit alongside Outsider Artist Nick Blinko’s minutely detailed monochrome pieces. Macabre and intense; Nick’s images depict microscopically detailed interconnecting worlds and figures such as skulls, broken dolls, imps, foetuses and precisely handwritten notes. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of events, talks and workshops organised by Outside In’s partners.

The artists exhibiting are:
Jan Arden
Wrestling with the Bull
From an early age, Jan liked to copy cartoons and comic book characters before moving on to still life and portraits in secondary school. For many years he studied mime, dance, singing and drama before coming back to drawing and painting in 2009. Jan likes to combine Celtic knot-work with African faces and South American Shamanistic Aztec priests, people, animals, symbols and shapes. He creates what he sees on the paper after moving the biro in dance like movements, eyes closed and reaching into the subconscious for inspiration and guidance.

Imma Maddox
Foot
Imma is predominantly a textile artist, as well as being a survivor of mental illness. Alongside her drawings such as ‘Foot’, Imma creates icons, which she has been painting for about fifteen years. For these, she uses traditional methods dating back to Roman times.

Nigel Kingsbury
Becky
Nigel’s fine, delicate portraits depict women as mystical goddesses attired in glamorous ball gowns, decadent outfits and floating dresses. Each picture is unique, sometimes drawn from memory, sometimes of those in close proximity, but always of women he likes and is inspired by. This fascination with the female form inspires Nigel to create drawings with a frequently mysterious and eerie quality, although his idolisation of the figure in such a rare and carefully observed manner is far removed from contemporary issues of gender stereotyping.

Hannah Swain
Putti
Hannah was diagnosed with Bipolar at the age of 50 after the death of her mother. She began creating her works during her time in hospital, producing images of angels that embodied her mother, keeping her memories alive.

Billy Weston
Billy Nut
At the age of 14, Billy had a brain haemorrhage which resulted in the loss of his drawing right hand. He never regained the use of his right side, but relearned his natural artistic talent through his left hand. Since then, Billy has carried notebooks with him, drawing and painting life as it goes through his head.

Pat Mear
Feeling Water
Pat has specialised in fine art painting as a result of attending Croydon College of Art in the 1960s-70s but has since moved away from original hard-edged brainwork towards more intuitive work. Her other works include fine line Indian ink animal drawings as well as an exploration of imaginary landscapes on cork; an environmentally renewable source.

Terence Wilde
Definitions of Normal
Terence studied printed textiles at Winchester School of Art, graduating in 1986 with a First Class Degree. Creativity is a visual language that helps convey a sense of history and the reality of the past for himself and other adult survivors. It offers respite through escape, and is key in his spiritual journey. He currently works as an art and textiles instructor within the Occupational Therapy department at the Bethlem Royal Hospital.

Venue:
CGP London – Southwark Park – London – SE16 2UA
Tel: +44 (0)20 7237 1230

Opening times:
Wed – Sun, 11am – 5pm

Transport information:
Southwark Park is approximately 9 minutes walk from Canada Water station on the Jubilee & London Overground lines. Buses 1, 47, 188, 199, 225, 381, 395, P12, C10.

David Feingold

The artwork of David Feingold, diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2001.

“There was a time when I tried to keep my disabilities to myself. That is, until it was nearly impossible to cover up my forgetfulness, poor organization, distractibility, and depression. I finally came out of the closet, determined to live my life to the best of my ability, with my impairments. Instead of hiding them, I embraced them. Instead of making excuses for them I prided myself in having them.”

If you would like to see more of David’s work check out his page at Bipolar Artists website.


The Bipolar Impaired Self


Look At Me, See My Pain


Seeing The Light


Hear That


Theo


Lizzy Makes Me Dizzy

Creativity and Social Support in Mental Health

Mental Spaghetti has been cited as a reference in Roberta McDonnell’s new book, ‘Creativity and Social Support in Mental Health‘.

Roberta says, “Hopefully my new book will add to the voices trying to promote positive mental health recovery and a better deal for service users. A short summary of the findings and recommendations in a free e-book will be available soon and I will be happy to forward to anyone interested. Here’s a link in the meantime to the blurb and contents.”

If you’d like to get a link for the e-book, leave a comment and I will forward your interest to Roberta.