Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Art has helped us express mental health issues
ARTISTS who have battled mental health problems have exhibited their work at the largest exhibition of its kind ever staged in Worcester.
The exhibition at the Cotswold Gallery at the University of Worcester yesterday marked World Mental Health Day, which aims to banish the stigma which still clings to mental illness.
Displays featured 67 works of art from landscapes and portraits to abstract pieces which attempted to reflect the inner turmoil of the mind.
The month-long exhibition arose out of a partnership between Shrub Hill Workshop run by Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust and AIMs (Art in Minds), which now has about 100 members.
Jayne Gaze, resident artist at Shrub Hill, helped organise the exhibition with team leader Velma Johnson.
One of the artists, Jaems Nicol, aged 34, of Perdiswell, Worcester, has bipolar disorder and temporal lobe epilepsy and said his abstract work was an attempt to capture the chaos of the mind.
He said: “I was in Newtown Hospital and went to the Shrub Hill workshop once a week. Once I finished my time there, they referred me to AIMs.
"It’s good for the social atmosphere and getting other ideas. I was very depressed before this, just sitting around, going around the twist.”
Christine Baker, a volunteer art leader at AIMs, said: “It has been a real success story. Art therapy changes people’s lives. I’m quite passionate about it.”
Another artist, Ursula Nash, 60, of Orchard Street, Worcester, who has wrestled with depression, said: “It’s a really lovely exhibition and there’s some fabulous work here.
“It gives people with depression and mental illness a chance to show what they can do.
“The feedback you get is phenomenal. This time last year I was thinking, ‘Is it good enough to hang?’ I didn’t know if I was an artist or not.”
She has already sold about a dozen paintings since she began exhibiting last year.
There is a further exhibition at Café Bliss and the Cellar Galleries at Worcester Arts Workshop, 21 Sansome Street, which also runs for a month.