Online Exhibition

Re-Imagine

Dates of event: Until 31 Aug 2022

Curated by City Arts in partnership with Institute of Mental Health

The digitised image depicts a landscape of a city, with rectangular artefacts breaking up the skyline

Re-Imagine is the first in a series of four online exhibitions. Each explores young people’s experience of mental health issues. The series showcases artwork by a mix of UK-based and international artists aged 13-25.

Young people face growing uncertainty and new pressures. These artworks variously express feelings of depression and anxiety. Some capture the experience of intrusive thoughts.

There is a lot of evidence that creative self-expression can support people’s wellbeing. It improves mood and confidence. It helps people feel valued. Many of the exhibited works attempt to depict a safe place, real or imaginary, a refuge from dark thoughts.

City Arts is presenting this exhibition in partnership with the Institute of Mental Health. Artwork was submitted in response to an open call. It asked for work which responds creatively to the theme of mental health. The artwork was selected by a panel of young people.

The work in this exhibition was submitted in early 2020, before the full gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic had become apparent and before the war in Ukraine.

We’d love your feedback! Let us know what you thought of this exhibition by completing our short online survey.

Artwork

A collage of a head with black hair flowing, the body made up of an overlay of green and purple colours covered in white sketching.

Body Memories I

Jeng Hang Kung

Medium: Graphite, Digital Drawing

Date Created:

This illustration was created during lockdown. While Jeng Hang was quarantined, it reminded her of the period of depression. “There were times when you do not want to leave your bed, or the house. There were times when you are not interested in the future awaiting, or what happens in your life. And there were times when you feel so lonely you don’t think anyone cares about your presence.”

A collage of a bald head with rosy cheeky. The figure is surrounded by layers of green and blue interpretative sketches which resemble underwater nature.

Body Memories II

Jeng Hang Kung

Medium: Graphite, Digital Drawing

Date Created:

This piece from Jeng Hang’s Body Memories project depicts a collage of a bald head with rosy cheeks. The project symbolises how all our habits and stories are physically remembered on our bodies, and mentally engraved.

Jeng Hang is an artist from Hong Kong who currently lives in Nottingham. She works mainly with collages, printmaking and painting and creates illustrations inspired by current events and her own experiences.

“I am interested in how we respond to our surroundings through listening and observing.”

A painting of a skyline of a city, with people populating the street below. The buildings are in the shadows, dark and gloomy, towering over the people below. The people are hurrying around on their phones looking down. In the light blue sky above them there is a rainbow coloured fish flying in the sky, being ridden by a boy. The fish is leaving a trail of colourful stars.

Find your Wings

Nastia Luzan

Medium: Acrylic

Date Created:

This piece was painted in Malyn, Ukraine. The bottom of the picture depicts gloomy routine and commotion in dark colours, where people are dependent on their phones, always working and hurrying somewhere. At the top is a boy breaking out of this fuss and craziness in colour. He is self-confident and cheerful, he lives in harmony with himself and knows what he wants in his life. That is why the boy is mentally healthy.

Nastia is from Malyn, Ukraine. She has attended Art Club and has taken part in a lot of contests, winning many prizes.

A computer-generated image of a modernistic, white, four storey building with many windows and a balcony on either side. This is set against a bright blue sky. There are people located outside a scattering of windows, talking to one another.

Feelings of a summer’s day

Andrei Corbet Nits

Medium: Pencil drawing on paper

Date Created:

Drawn in a period that the artist describes as emotionally challenging, this perspective first shows a façade in bright summer light. However, a closer observation reveals multiple personal stories happening simultaneously, interpreted by the numerous inhabitants of the building. The building becomes here the human mind, and the characters represent one’s emotions.

State of Mind - A computer-generated image of a futuristic landscape. It contains winding, freestanding roads, colourful buildings which jut out in obscure shapes. There are towering buildings that read into a sky which is turning from blue to yellow. A pink animal flies through the sky, leaving a trail of pink and green behind it. There is a crescent moon in the top left corner, with a face and sunglasses, reading a book in the sky.

State of mind

Andrei Corbet Nits

Medium: Digital image

Date Created:

Andrei describes this imaginary landscape as a metaphor for his usual state of mind. The unstable, gaudy, redundant and definitely illogical architecture reflects the inability to concentrate while letting one’s thoughts fly in all directions. Random objects and common places resurge as memories spread across the scenery, adding another layer of confusion. Like the train trapped in its own hamster wheel with rails, the attempt to follow a rational path faces an eventual collapse.

Andrei is of French and Romanian nationality and studied architecture and urban planning at ENSA Paris-Est in Champs-sur-Marne, France.

“I am interested in traditional and digital illustration, comics and photography.”

The digitised image depicts a landscape of a city, with rectangular artefacts breaking up the skyline

Isolated Mind

Hannata Duoghnkeh

Medium: Digital print on metallic paper

Date Created:

This project is based on using emotions from lockdown and how being in a large city like London can make you feel lonelier. Many might have seemed fine before the pandemic, but being isolated and facing a new normality may hit people hard and trigger mental health issues. The images in piece 1 appear normal but are distorted by using colour and shapes to show a broken mind. The colours too are bright, but have a slightly gloomy tone.

The digitised image depicts a landscape of a city, the ground at the forefront of the image is dark, while the sky is sunset of orange, blues and dark grey. You can make out building in the distance of the landscape, but it is disrupted but two pentagons in the center of the image which magnify the overlaps of the picture

Isolated Mind 2

Hannata Duoghnkeh

Medium: Digital print on metallic paper

Date Created:

This piece from the same project has a darker tone. The shapes are used to change the view like the human mind can do. Hannah’s work reflects not only her own challenges, but young people having to take care of their mental health during this time and finding new ways to cope.

Hannah is a digital artist that explores emotions by creating a new world of the mind.

“I want to evoke moods whether this be personal or from the audience. My work can be surreal and uses unrealistic colours to exaggerate feelings.”

A drawing that a series of staircases, winding up the center of the page that are surrounded by overgrown branches and roots. Some of the branches grow into hands, and to the left of the page, two hands reach towards the staircase. At the top of the drawing, two arms wrap themselves around the center of the stairs, The roots are coloured in a warm green, while the stairs are pink and purple – the colours all merge together and blend into one another.

An Enlightened State of Being

Emily Zou

Medium: Mixed media

Date Created:

This drawing sprouted from Emily realising the light and beauty that resulted from her struggle with mental health. It depicts a suffocating mindspace, yet the overgrowth is bathed in harmonious light and colour, bringing attention to the importance this complex overgrowth has in shaping who Emily is.

Emily is a multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto, Canada who specialises in drawing, painting and illustration, and also loves to work with ceramics and digital processes. Emily studied Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in Scotland and graduated from Canada’s OCAD University in 2020 with a BFA in Drawing & Painting.

“I am passionate about creating detailed and surreal environments in my work and often draw imagery from personal narratives, my experiences with mental health, and even my dreams.”

A black and white drawing of a fallen tree in a field. The bottom of the tree is at the left on the image, revealing all its roots. The trunk reaches the other side of the page and sits on the grass behind it. There are trees seen in the distance at the top of the image.

Uprooted

Catherine Setchfield

Medium: Ink and gouache on paper

Date Created:

This artwork represents how the experiences of anxiety and bereavement resemble a tree being uprooted during a storm: like a tree unable to ground or root itself. The use of black and white in the drawing symbolises a loss of colour in life, and a sense of isolation created by mental health struggles.

Catherine is a recent English and History graduate who developed a passion for art from a very young age. Most of Catherine’s work centres around nature and exploring her own experiences of mental health by depicting elements of the natural world. Catherine’s dream is to write and illustrate children’s books.

“I love exploring nature and thinking about the symbolism it can hold in our lives: from the sea symbolising grief, to the woods reflecting uncertainty and change.”

A black and white pencil drawing of small houses submerged by duvets and waves of sketched lines and mountain

Snowed Under

Caroline Hendry

Medium: Ballpoint on cartridge

Date Created:

Caroline’s collated work of “duvet mountains” explores the experience of mental slump and its relationship with comfort. In this black and white pencil drawing, the homes created by the slump make one feel snowed under. It almost feels as if houses have been built on top, keeping you from escaping.

A black and white pencil drawing of little houses, surrounded by hills. There is a lighthouse on the left of the image with a flag at the top. There are tepee tents at the bottom right of the image, sitting on a black and white patterned ground.

The Observer

Caroline Hendry

Medium: Ballpoint on cartridge

Date Created:

This piece depicts the reflective period after a mental slump, reflecting on why it occurred. The black and white pencil drawing shows a lighthouse with a flag at the top and tepee tents, as well as little houses surrounded by hills.

Caroline Hendry is a British artist whose collated work of “duvet mountains” attempts to discuss the intricacies that can occur when trying to get out of bed due to a mixture of comfort and mental slump.

“The comfort of the duvet becomes suffocating and overly warm, yet it is difficult to leave the crevice that has been created.”

A collection of 6 collages. Bottom left picture reads ‘Anxiety’ in bold letters made up of red and pink polka dots, set against a bright orange/yellow painted background. There is a pill box sitting in-between the N and E. The top left image is a face made up of cuttings from magazines to create a face, with the phrase ‘one tablet, taken daily’ coming out of the mouth. The background is of a tiled bathroom, with a toilet seat in the top right corner, a man in a tallow costume sits on it. The second top left is a collage made up of medical labels, layered over one another. The text reads ‘TAKE UR MEDS’. The middle top image background is made up of pill packet labels, in white and yellow with black writing. There is an outline of a woman in the center crossing her arms, her expression is serious, and her eyes have been cut out to reveal the labels in the background. The top right image is a collage made up of headshots, with the faces covered by snippets of medical labels. There are cut outs of pills in the middle left of the page, sitting on top of a woman in a lab coat looking at a rat. This is overlayed with a hand holding a cigarette. At the top left of the image there are words cut out spelling out ‘Facing the Opioid Addiction Crisis’, with the word ‘Diagnosis from seeing pain’ around the bottom left. The bottom right image shows a background of palm trees and a blue cloudy sky. The text at the top reads ‘LIFE WITHOUT DEPRESSION RULES.’. Over the palm trees there are cut outs of women in swimming costumes lying on loungers, with sunglasses. A black and white face with sunglasses is in the center of the image, looking towards the sky.

Untitled

Bella Brooks 

Medium: Mixed-media collage

A collection of six mixed-media collages exploring mental health, specifically about living and coping with anxiety, depression and addiction. Bella uses a range of media to create her collages including cuttings from magazines, medical labels, headshots and cut-out words.

Bella is an American artist who uses mixed-media to express themes related to mental health, medication, and growing up in today’s world.

“My inspiration comes from my own personal experience, as well as the experiences of close friends and family members.”

A pink and red painting of what resembles a human body. The painting shows a larger body and an assortment of body parts not in the correct place. Two lumps of flesh come out of the waste area, and an arm drapes across where the neck would be. The skin is mottled and textured. It is outlined in black, set against a white background

Mottled Skin

Alex J. Turner

Medium: Gouache and ink pen on water colour paper

Date Created:

A representation of a body that one with body dysmorphia may fear, this piece displays the irrationality of the mind that experiences the condition. The figure is not life-like, it is large with an assortment of what seems to be its body parts in the wrong place, and skin that appears mottled and textured. The absence of a head makes the figure nothing more than an insentient creature created by fear.

A painting that shows large, flesh coloured, body parts piled on top of each other – not assembled to resemble a regular body. There is no head, but long pieces of a body formed in pile, set against a background painted in black.

Body Totem

Alex J. Turner

Medium: Oil paint on black paper

Date Created:

A depiction of body dysmorphia displaying the irrational fear and anxiety created by the disorder around self-image and perception. The piece shows fat body parts piled on top of each other in a way that does not necessarily make sense, in a nondescript box room representing the mind. The absence of a head makes the body nothing more than an insentient creature created by irrational fear.

Alex is a recent Fine Art graduate from De Montfort University who has a handful of interests when it comes to making art, including a current interest in the human experience.

“I try to look at people from the inside – thoughts, memories, fears – and express that through their exterior.”

A painting of a young black girl on the left of the image. She sits tall with her hands in her lap and looks towards the viewer. She is dressed in a light pink tunic, set against a white background covered in brush strokes. Next to the girl there is a black circle of rings, progressively getting smaller.

Malabo Malinaw

Shara Francisco

Medium: Oil and Acrylic Latex on Canvas

Date Created:

This painting depicts the dim future and clear view of the dismal present. It portrays how one can easily be clouded with anxiety and doubt, playing with an illusion that allows viewers to choose which reality they want to see, and act according to them; hopeful or neglecting.

A painting depicting a room with white walls and a small black chair in the left corner and a frame on the wall to the right of the image. There is a cut outs of a woman’s head, a pair of arms and legs, assembled to be sat on the chair. The hands are interlocked, and the feet are crossed over.

Masyadong Mababa ang Silya

Shara Francisco

Medium: Mixed Media

Date Created:

This artwork is part of a two-piece project titled ‘Sariling Pagkabalisa’ – expressing how everything in the present is diluted and blurred, testing one’s own sanity during this time. The piece has dual interpretations that veer between extraverted feeling and navigating one’s innermost self; and how these, merged together, can be detrimental to one’s own perception of self and existence.

Shara Franciso is a painter and graphic designer based in Laguna, Philippines. The direction of her current work leans towards themes of duality and perception, delving into the objective and subjective reality.

A real-life photograph depicts a girl with dark hair at a sink washing up a plate, with yellow washing up gloves on. She is covered in white paperchains all over her body. She looks down at the plate she is washing.

Washing Up

Alice Garbett

Medium: Paper sculpture, digital photography

Date Created:

This piece explores the experience of trying to complete an everyday task – washing up, whilst burdened by anxiety. Alice uses the delicate qualities of paper to represent the feelings of fragility and uselessness weaved within anxiety.

Traditionally an item of protection in battle, the paper chainmail is a visual metaphor for Alice’s fight to feel at ease again.

A real-life photograph depicts a girl with dark hair, sitting on a cream leather sofa, eating fried egg on toast. She is covered in white paperchains all over her body. The floor is a dark wooden colour and the wall behind the sofa is off-white.

Eating tea in front of the telly

Alice Garbett

Medium: Paper sculpture, digital photography

Date Created:

This piece explores the experience of trying to complete an everyday task – eating tea in front of the telly, whilst burdened by anxiety. Alice uses paper, a contradictory material, to sculpt a fragile and futile armour and nullify its utility, with the work becoming an oxymoronic metaphor.

Alice studied fine art at Loughborough University and graduated in 2020. Her work uses wearable sculpture and photography to illustrate the difficulty of performing everyday tasks whilst burdened with anxiety. Each piece is subtly linked with the use of yellow objects, with the colour suggesting hope.

“My pieces are constructed to work through and analyse personal experiences and emotions and my photography situates itself between self-portraiture and tableau photography.”

Four images of people looking down at their phones. Their faces are digitally morphed an stretch to reach their phones. Two of the images depict a man and a woman taking pictures of something, while the other 2 show 2 people looking down at their phones. One woman stands with protesting posters in front of her legs while she is on her phone.

Phone Addiction

Caroline Davies

Medium: Photography

Date Created:

This piece contains four images of people looking down at their phones – their faces digitally morphed and stretched. The artwork explores the dependency of phone usage, and how this absorption of phones can have an effect on someone’s mental health.

Caroline is a British photographer who explores social themes in her work.

“Through the medium of photography, I intend to provide a visual narrative and a new perspective on society.”

A pencil drawing of a body with arms and legs but is not human. It has pointed feet and wears spikey hat and bib. Tears are falling from its eyes. It’s shadow bears more resemblance to a human body, at the lower right of the page. Written words surround the figure, shouting insults such as ‘you’re ugly’, ‘die’ and ‘HAHAHA’.

Anxiety and Depression

Isabelle

Medium: Pencil and paper

Date Created:

This pencil drawing shows the monsters that teenagers carry round every day. The body depicted has arms and legs but it does not appear to be human. It is surrounded by written insults and tears fall from its eyes, with a shadow that bears more resemblance to a human body.

At the time the work was created, Isabelle described herself as “just an ordinary 13 year old.”

A fragmented painting of a heart, it is surrounded by writing which reads 'Please don't leave me, I love you with all my heart'

Please Don't Leave Me

Frankie Parker

Medium: Mixed media

Date Created:

This is one of the first pieces Frankie made after being discharged from a psychiatric hospital. It is about attachment and the fear of abandonment. The heart at the centre painted in acrylic has words stitched around it, representing the human heart and its association with love and attachment.

At the center there is collage of a heart organ, cut up and stuck together by read thread that looks like stitching. It is set against a bright pink background, and the border is framed in ‘FRAGILE’ tape.

Fragile

Frankie Parker

Medium: Mixed media

Date Created:

This is one of the first pieces Frankie made after being discharged from a psychiatric hospital. A heart painted onto loose canvas using acrylic paint has been cut up and stitched together again using red thread, framed with fragile tape. The stitched heart represents the idea of attachment used to hold things together.

Frankie is currently studying art at the School of Art, Architecture and Design at London Metropolitan University (formerly the Sir John Cass School of Art) after taking three years out of education.

“I live with borderline personality disorder which has affected every single day of my life since I was about 14. It’s not all bad however as I believe it is where my creativity stems from – painting is my therapy. It also means that, because I feel everything so intensely, I get to feel happiness and excitement to an extreme that not many people get to experience.”

A darkly painted background, at the center of there is a bright orange and yellow fire with a human head in the middle, and a naked, headless, female body knelt beside it. The body is tending the fire head in the center. The sky is dark behind, with red and blue strikes through it.

Atrophied Amorphousness

Anastasia Sobichenko

Medium: Acrylic on canvas

Date Created:

This artwork explores psychasthenia, a painful condition characterised by phobias, obsessions, anxiety, self-doubt and vulnerability, and the feelings of indecision and impatience affecting every human body. The character is at a crossroads, among many roads on which she can’t walk. Driven to despair, she listens to the groan of the earth in the chthonic darkness, left only with self-immolation. Dedicated to all those who are lost among the unknown spaces.

A skeleton at the center of the painting, with its arms stretched towards the top of the image and looking up. Red surrounds the body in thick brush strokes. There is a row of grey faces at the top of the image, some who’s eyes are closed and some who’s eyes are missing. There are two skeletons, one at the bottom right and one bottom left looking up at the skeleton in the middle of the image.

Between Wrath and Mercy

Anastasia Sobichenko

Medium: Acrylic on paper

Date Created:

A miniature work depicting an outcast whose lungs are filled with the world’s blood, displayed as a skeleton at the centre of the painting with arms outstretched.

Anastasia is a Ukrainian artist who describes her work as a stream of consciousness, made for contemplation.

“It’s born when a thought begins to take root and trembling wires cover my brain; when I hear sorrow, songs calling for something majestic and distant…but I don’t know exactly.”

A pair of legs enter from the left of the image, outlined in a vivid red line. They reach towards a red pointed mound which is filed with red brushstrokes. It is set against black background.

Untitled

Kamila Perez

Date Created:

A sample of Kamila’s latest paintings focused on sleep apnoea and depression. The artwork also takes reference from the feeling of loneliness that many of us experience in these times, even surrounded by technology, food and people.

Accompanying to image 1, same image but all in red, with black outlines instead

Untitled

Kamila Perez

Date Created:

An accompanying piece to image 1, this is a sample of Kamila’s paintings focused on sleep apnoea and depression. The artwork also takes reference from the feeling of loneliness that many of us experience in these times, even surrounded by technology, food and people.

Kamila is a Peruvian artist who has lived in Munich, Germany. She is a self-taught, multidisciplinary artist working with video, photography, creative writing and paint.

“I have been fighting for several years against a depression, some days it is difficult to win the war, but there are also days when I can shine with the sun and feel good. I believe that every human being has the ability to help himself and cope with many things, but it also depends a lot on not giving up and not being alone.”

A digital image of a person clutching their head in distress in the centre. The image is mostly solid black, with some features in white, such as their mouth, eyes, and left hand. Coming from their head there are zig-zag lines like waves travelling horizontally to the edge of the page. These are interspersed with purple and blue lines.

I Can't

Meraki By Hamer

Medium: Digital image

Date Created:

Whether a person embodies darkness or light within their surroundings, what’s on the inside is just as engulfing, painful and troubling. This artwork is one of two pieces exploring vulnerability and the war within one’s self to come to terms with the reality of life and moving forward. I Can’t is the (Dark Version).

A digitally created image of a person with light brown hair, sweeping over their face with streaks of light blue, pink and white through it. They have their eyes scrunched closed, and their mouth downturned, looking distressed. On their left cheek there is the male symbol in blue. They wear a black and white baseball top, with ‘Ellie’ written in pink but with a strike through and ‘Ethan’ written instead below in bright red. A stream of blue, pink, and white stretch from their head to the left of the image. There is a speech bubble coming from the right of their face which reads ‘I’M A BOY!’ in blue and read colouring. The background is a blurry brown.

I'm a boy

Sage

Medium: Digital image

Date Created:

"This piece is about a teen who has dysphoria. He is a trans male but his family doesn’t accept him. As we know, transgender people if not treated right could have a high chance of depression or even suicide."

A red and khaki interpretative print of a fish with different human bodies around. A fish with face facing downwards is in the middle and has one body that is crouched up and hugging at the top right of the fish, while another body reaches along the left side of the fish’s body, clinging onto it upside down. Limbs and other fish silhouettes surround the fish and bodies in the background.

Fish

Mary Chudny

Medium: Etch print

Date Created:

Mary has described this etching print as “someone caught by someone”. It is one of five created by the artist.

An interpretative print of a female body in red with splayed fingers, surrounded by green sketches.

Pervert

Mary Chudny

Medium: Diatypia print

Date Created:

An interpretative print of a female body in red with splayed fingers, representing a girl under some kind of stress.

Mary was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine and graduated art school with honours, going on to exhibit her work in a series of regional and national exhibitions.

This digital image depicts a female face sketched in the center, with her eyes closed and her head leaning in her hand, covering her right eye. Her lips are coloured in purple, a nd her eyes lashes and eyebrows are brown. The face is surrounded by stippled purple and brown paint.

Clouded

Meraki By Hamer

Medium: Digital Art

Date Created:

This image describes Meraki’s own anxiety and how what she feels inside spills out into her surroundings. “It’s hard to sometimes see through the “clouds” of emotions. It can become intense and even if you may seem okay on the outside, anxiety can take over and form an invisible cloud in your environment.”

Meraki is a first-generation Hispanic student currently studying Experimental Animation in the US. She creates artworks for her projects and portfolio, and also for freelance commissions. Meraki has participated in several local and international exhibitions and has experience of teaching others from 1-18+ years.

“As an artist, I’m always motivated to create visual artworks that portray multifaceted ideas that have a connection with my audience. I strongly believe that art is everywhere and therefore is free, it definitely shouldn’t be something that is taken for granted.”

Malted

Olivia Boileau

Medium: Stop motion video

Date Created:

Stop motion representing a personal childhood memory, recreating the targeted attack on Olivia’s father due to the drug dealing industry. The piece focuses on the negative effect this had upon Olivia mentally, as a child and now as an adult.

Painting of two people combined; their heads sit at the top right of the page. Half of the head looks human, with long dark brown hair, while the other looks more monstrous, like a skull in an orange colour. Black, white, and red lines come out of the skeleton head, which is then framed by white with yellow and pink flowers. The body of the being mottled blue, with brown arms sitting in their lap. Another hand reaches down to the bottom of the body, clutching a black rectangle with a white circle at the center. The body sits on a orange and pink floral bed sheet. The walls are a light pink, and there is a painting on the left side of the wall of pink flowers.

Bunny Chronicles

Olivia Boileau

Medium: Acrylic on canvas

Date Created:

A combined self portrait of Olivia and her Mum reading in Olivia’s bedroom. “The combined identity also represents the multiply identities I form into when I’m disassociating, or feel I am turning into a character of a false reality, when my anxiety gets the better of me.”

Olivia is an artist from Liverpool, studying Fine Art at Manchester Metropolitan University. Olivia’s practice tends to focus upon memoir and childhood objects and the associations we have with them in relation to memories and emotions.

“I work in a wide range of mediums but my practice has begun to take a more illustrative form. So I have therefore, started to represent my practice making stop motions and paintings.”

A painting depicting a body lying in a double bed. The duvet is pulled up over the person’s head, and so we can only see their feet poking out the end of the bed. The duvet is painted white with blue detail, and three pillows lie at the top of the bed.

Two Feet

Polina Pak

Medium: Oil on board

Date Created:

A painting from Polina’s recent series – “She lent me her pyjama bottoms”. The piece depicts two bare feet poking out from a small bed, the rest of the body hidden away under a heavy duvet.

A painting that depicts a hand holding onto a cup of yoghurt in a green pot and a silver spoon. There is a confused face reflected in the spoon, looking back at the viewer. Behind the hand holding the yoghurt and spoon, there is a glass pot of sugar. The items sit on a light yellow piece of fabric, and there is blue painted at the top and bottom edge of the painting.

Honey in sugar... Sugar?

Polina Pak

Medium: Oil on board

Date Created:

This artwork portrays a hand holding onto a cup of yoghurt and a spoon. There is a confused face reflected in the spoon, echoing the moment of stillness and hesitation this painting aims to capture.

Polina is a Russian artist based in Bristol who has graduated from City & Guilds of London Art School with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art. Polina’s practice mainly revolves around female experience, with her current body of work depicting bodies, objects and the domestic spaces of women who have been through an abortion.

“I seek to portray quiet, intimate moments of comfort and healing to destigmatise and normalise the discussion around abortion and create a space of support and unity for anyone who might be in need of it.”

The image is made up of over lapping circles depicting a range of faces. The faces are brightly coloured in blue, pink, yellow, green, purple, red and orange. The faces have large, alien like eyes, and are stretched and manipulated, and all overlap one another. They are assembled like a collage.

Head Up!

Sabrina Choi

Medium: Acrylic, ink on cotton canvas

Date Created:

This piece explores Sabrina’s experience of growing up in the busy city of Hong Kong. “I’ve realised that I’ve been constantly stressed out by undistinguishable crowds around me. Head’s Up is where I come head to head with the source of my stress and while confronting the unsettling feeling that continued to grow in me – crowds and insanity, paint it out through a colourful, childlike perspective that not only appeals to me, but also the audience.”

This image similarly depicts a collage of overlapped, colourful faces. Some faces are big and some are small. Thick streams of tears fall from some of the faces, while others smile, and others look angry. Some of the faces have substance dripping from their mouths and/or noses.

It's messy out there, innit

Sabrina Choi

Medium: Acrylic, ink and gold pigment on cotton canvas

Date Created:

This work explores the correspondence between emerging crowds and the feeling of discomfort, where Sabrina’s delusions, imaginations and phobias continue to haunt her despite being alone in an empty space.

Sabrina is a Hong Kong-born artist currently based in London. She is active among the London art scene and the mental health support community, participating in multiple group exhibitions. Sabrina has also worked for well-known artists such as Song Dong and galleries including Pace in London.

“I mainly work with 2D paintings where I merge my heritage with my artwork, creating work that allows me to express myself, through colours and space, while embracing the quiet and shy nature of being an Asian female. My practice also aims to create a safe space for people to have conversations about major issues through art itself.”

A digital graphic with a human robot designed in white, sitting at the left forefront of the image, in a meditation pose with its eyes closed. A cord is attached to the back of its head and is connected to a machine behind it, which contains a tube with another white human robot inside. This is set against a mustard yellow background.

Channel

Vijit Kumar

Medium: Digital art

Date Created:

Vijit believes that humans have a capacity to evolve out of their dark thoughts and traumas by means of therapy or art, and can also reuse those emotions to educate themselves and create art that speaks. Channel aims to explore the rift between the dark thoughts and traumas, and art.

Vijit is an artist based in New Delhi, India who makes art that evokes an emotion or response, and tells a story.

“I believe that art has the potential to move masses and brains and generate emotions within people that have the potential to bring about change.”

About the Institute of Mental Health

The Institute of Mental Health is a unique partnership between Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Nottingham. Bringing together healthcare staff and academics to lead mental health research designed to improve diagnosis, treatment, and care. The Institute has built a reputation for research excellence. Through its unique partnership, and by involving people directly affected by mental health problems, it produces research that will inspire change and improve the mental health of people locally, nationally, and internationally. The Institute has a public advisory group that oversees how it involves patients and public volunteers in its research projects and they are committed to promoting creative and artistic ideas and practices that support positive mental health. The Institute support wellbeing and dementia choirs, host an annual programme of art exhibitions and events, plus they actively support and get involved with community projects and events.

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Institute of Mental Health's Website