A ground-breaking art exhibition to fight depression
According to Beyond Blue, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. In Australia, an estimated 45% of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. Yet despite the fact that depression has such a huge impact, we as a society are still hesitant to acknowledge and talk about this issue.
On a mission to help fight depression and bring issues around mental health out into the open, Armadale-based artist Gracey will be holding an exhibition called "Art vs Depression" at the Armadale Library from 16th May until 30th May. Entry is free, however donations are welcome and all proceeds will be going towards Headspace Armadale. Headspace is a national organisation which provides early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year olds. Their services cover areas such as mental health, physical health, work and study support and alcohol and substance use.
What make this exhibition truly unique is the process which he has used to develop the art work. Originally from New Zealand, Gracey has built this exhibition based on principles and values from his Māori culture, specifically by getting the community involved in his work. For the last few months, Gracey has been going around Armadale, approaching people with a box of crayons and some blank paper and asking them if they'd like to draw a picture. These drawings would then be used as the basis for the art work which will be on display. He has teamed up with a number of different local artists from diverse backgrounds who have volunteered their time and skills. There will be a combination of both paintings and sculptures on display.
Gracey in his studio with some of the art work drawn by local community members.(Photo supplied by Gracey)
Gracey out about about interacting with locals and getting them to draw pictures (Photos supplied by Gracey).
The exhibition officially opens at 10am on Monday 16th May with the Māori tradition of "karanga" (a "call" or "summon" often used in welcoming ceremonies). Check out the below video to get an idea of what karanga is all about.
Throughout the duration of the exhibition, Gracey will be available most days so you can go and have a chat with him to learn more about his work and his personal experiences with depression. Follow his Art vs Depression page on Facebook to find out more information about the times he'll be available.
Art vs Depression will be a true example of "living, breathing art" – it is the community who have contributed to this work and told their stories through these drawings. In turn, this exhibition is also a fine example of an artist who has chosen to interact with and involve his community and share their stories.
Therefore, be sure to check out this exhibition. Not only will you be supporting a great cause and local artists but you will also be witnessing art created through a truly ground-breaking method of involving the community. Through this exhibition, Gracey is determined to fight the monster of depression and share his message that "regardless of how dark it can get, you can still get to the light."
If you or anyone you know might be showing signs of depression or anxiety, do not be afraid to make an appointment with your GP or get in contact with organisations such as Headspace or Beyond Blue.