Three exhibitions featuring artwork on the subject of wellbeing graced the walls of the Mental Health Commission of NSW this year, as part of the Commission’s commitment to promoting the importance of living well, breaking down the stigma around mental illness and giving those living with mental illness a voice.
Currently on display are pieces from Being’s 2015 Recovery in Art exhibition. The collection features artworks by those with a lived experience of mental illness, in recognition that art can play an important role in people’s recovery journey. The artists featured joined with Commission and Being staff on 8 December for a celebratory launch of the exhibition. Read more about Recovery in Art on Being’s website.
In November, the Sydney Local Health District kindly donated for temporary display at the Commission artworks submitted to its inaugural Living Well Photography Competition. The competition was open to residents and employees of the District and was held to mark Mental Health Month. Submissions captured representations of wellbeing, resilience, purpose or happiness and all related to the competition theme of ‘Living Well, Mental Health’. The Commission celebrated the exhibition with a morning tea on 17 November. View the gallery.
Also displayed mid year were pieces from a PhotoVoice Project on the theme ‘What makes me happy, makes me well’. This photographic exhibition was a collaborative initiative of the Northern Sydney First Australian Community, The Gaimaragal Group and Sydney North Shore and Beaches Partners in Recovery. View the gallery.
The exhibitions have proved to be very inspiring for Commission staff, but also for those visiting the Commission for meetings. The artist statements that often accompany the works give a window into the lived experience of the artists and can be very moving. Debra Beale, the creator of 'Trauma Trails' featured in the Recovery in Art exhibition, writes in her artist statement: "My artwork through the years has always been a therapy for me. This allows me to stay on my spiritual journey creating new song lines for self and my children and children to come... This year 2015 the works I have created helped me through my healing process to be grounded and focus on my health and wellbeing."